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Napoleon Sarony

One of America's most stylish photographers, Napoleon Sarony, was born in Quebec, Canada in 1821, the same year his namesake Napoleon I died in exile. He inherited his artistic talents from his French mother and his Austrian father. Young Sarony moved with his family to the United States when he was ten, and his father died shortly thereafter. In desperate need of a vocation to help support his family, he served an apprenticeship with a lithographer named Robinson for six years. Mr. Sarony moved to New York City in 1836, and joined with Currier as an illustrator, before Ives partnered with Currier. In 1843, he entered a partnership with James Major and established a lithographic company known as Sarony & Major. In 1853, the firm's name was changed to Sarony and Company, and then four years' later with the addition of another partner, was known as Sarony, Major & Knapp.

Mr. Sarony opened his own portrait photography studio at 37 Union Square in 1867, and quickly established himself as one of the most commercially prosperous photographers in America. His exotic studio decor represented the artist's extravagant global tastes and featured a mummy at the entrance and walls adorned with Egyptian, Japanese, and Russian artifacts. With the daguerreotype process becoming outdated rapidly, Mr. Sarony focused his considerable talents on portraiture, and the techniques he developed have become a photographic standard. He transformed posing into an art form, noting that the most effective pose is not a pose but rather a natural position.

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2012-12-20 10:31:04
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