About this artwork
During the reign of Napoleon III (1852–70), Nadar cultivated an illustrious career as a writer, caricaturist, and, most notably, photographer, producing arresting portraits of his renowned friends and contemporaries. He was also an enthusiastic balloonist, an obsession that led him to construct the largest hot air balloon the world had seen and make the first aerial photographs in 1858. Viewing the Earth’s surface from above, he wrote, "reduces all things to their relative proportions—to the Truth." Nadar’s first flight aboard his balloon Géant (Giant) on October 4, 1863, was a great success. On the second launch, however, the balloon eventually crashed in Hanover, leaving Nadar with a fractured leg. This photograph of that launch establishes the sheer size of the balloon—which was made with 20,000 meters of silk and carried 80 passengers in a two-story basket—by juxtaposing it with the crowd of 200,000 who have come to watch it.
Currently Off View
- Nadar (Gaspard Félix Tournachon)
- Le Geant, Champ de Mars
- Gelatin silver printing out paper print
- 17.1 × 16.5 cm (image/paper); 18.8 × 18.4 cm (first mount); 33 × 24.2 cm (second mount)
- Julien Levy Collection, Gift of Jean Levy and the Estate of Julien Levy