Standing opposite a newly built pavilion of the Louvre, Gustave Le Gray made this photograph when the sun's position allowed him to best capture the details of the heavily ornamented facade, from the fluted columns on the ground level to the figurative group on the nearest gable. Paving stones lead the viewer's eye directly to the corner of the pavilion, where the sunlit facade is further highlighted beside an area blanketed in shadow.

Though the extensive art collections of the Louvre had first been opened to the public in 1793, after the French Revolution, it was not until 1848 that the museum became the property of the state. Le Gray's image shows the exuberance of the architecture undertaken shortly thereafter, during the reign of Napoléon III, when large sections of the building housed government offices.


  • Title: Mollien Pavilion, the Louvre
  • Creator: Gustave Le Gray
  • Date Created: 1859
  • Physical Dimensions: 36.7 × 47.9 cm (14 7/16 × 18 7/8 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver print from a glass negative
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 90.XM.72
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820 - 1884)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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