Victor Prevost: Early Photographs of New York

September 05, 2008
October 19, 2008

French born Victor Prevost (1820-1881) spent most of his career in New York where, during the 1850s, he operated a photography studio. His calotype negatives survive as rare examples of some of the earliest paper photographs of New York City. Prevost learned the calotype process of using sensitized waxed paper to make photographic negatives from Gustave LeGray while visiting France in 1853. Upon his return to New York in the fall of that year, Prevost opened a photography studio at 627 Broadway between Houston and Bleecker Streets, with P.C. Duchochois as his partner. They were among the few photographers in the United States producing calotypes commercially but, due to increasing competition, they closed the business in 1855.

The images in the Prevost Collection of the N-YHS Library document significant buildings and scenes in New York City and its environs. Prevost especially liked to photograph the buildings on Broadway, and further north, on Bloomingdale Avenue. He also photographed a number of sculptures at the Crystal Palace exhibition building, which was built in 1853 but burned to the ground in 1858. The N-YHS exhibition will include all of these images and a few of the wax paper negatives which are works of art in their own right.

Creative: Tronvig Group