Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1840 self-portrait.

Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (21 October 1804 – 7 December 1892) was a French photographer and draughtsman who was active in the Middle East. His daguerreotypes are the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Remarkably, his photographs were only discovered in the 1920s in a storeroom of his estate and then only became known eighty years later.[1]


Girault de Prangey studied painting in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and in 1841 he learned daguerreotypy, possibly from Louis Daguerre himself or from Hippolyte Bayard. Girault de Prangey was keenly interested in the architecture of the Middle East, and he toured Italy and the countries of the eastern Mediterranean between 1841 and 1844, producing over 900 daguerreotypes of architectural views, landscapes, and portraits.[1]

After his return to France, Girault de Prangey made watercolour and pen-and-ink studies after his photographs and published a small-edition book of lithographs from them. He also made stereographs of his estate and the exotic plants he collected. Girault de Prangey did not exhibit or otherwise make his photographs known during his lifetime.[1]


In May 2003, Sheikh Saud Al Thani of Qatar purchased a daguerreotype by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey for a world-record price of £565,250 or $922,488.[1]

On 30 January 2019, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened "Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey". Approximately 120 photographs that the amateur archaeologist created in Greece, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the Levant during a self-financed tour of the region in the early 1840s were presented. They included the Parthenon in Athens, the Khayrbak Mosque in Cairo, and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Organized with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, it was the first comprehensive exhibition in America devoted to the French artist.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2019, pg. A15 (only with subscription).

External links[edit]

  • Anglo-American Name Authority File, s.v. "Girault de Prangey", LC Control Number no 97045139. Accessed 31 January 2007.
  • Christie's press release (20 March 2003). "The Earliest Surviving Photographs of Greece and the Middle East: Important Daguerreotypes by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey from the Archive of the Artist" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  • Smithsonian magazine. "See the First Photographs Ever Taken of Jerusalem". By Eveleth, Rose (23 January 2014): Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 30 September 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  • J. Paul Getty Museum. "Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 31 January 2007.
  • Musée gruérien (Bulle, Switzerland). "Le fonds Girault de Prangey" (in French). Bibliography including 2008 exhibition catalogue (Ed. Slatkine),[dead link] related links including documentary film. Retrieved 30 September 2020. {{cite web}}: External link in |location= (help)CS1 maint: location (link)