Augustin-Eugène Scribe (1791-1861) playwright, librettist

Nadar1855 - 1859

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Playwright Eugène Scribe poses more conventionally than most of Nadar's sitters from this period. In his mid-sixties, the successful playwright wore elegant and expensive formal daytime clothing. He displays neither playfulness in his costume, as in some Nadar portraits, nor much liveliness of expression. The line of Scribe's mouth is so uncommonly straight as to give little idea of temperament. His left eye is mild and even, but his right eye arrestingly burns out from deep shadow, providing a clue to the anxiety that reportedly caused the playwright to gnaw on his handkerchief when a rehearsal was going badly.

Scribe persevered in writing plays despite the failures of his first thirteen works. Critical and popular acclaim, and ultimately great wealth, rewarded his tenacious productivity in writing more than 230 plays and librettos, or texts for musical works. His work is now seldom performed, save for a few operas for which he wrote the librettos.

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  • Title: Augustin-Eugène Scribe (1791-1861) playwright, librettist
  • Creator: Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon]
  • Date: 1855 - 1859
  • Physical Dimensions: 25.4 x 21 cm (10 x 8 1/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Salted paper print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed in ink, lower left recto print: "Nadar/ 113 St Lazare"
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.262.2
  • Markings: Markings: Blind stamp recto mount below image: "Nadar & CIE/ Societe de Photographie Artistique/ 113 R. St Lazare 113"
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: Inscribed in elegant script in ink below image: "Eugene Scribe"
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: French
  • Classification: Photographs