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Pont du Point du Jour

Auguste Hippolyte Collard, Auguste Hippolyte Collard1863/1866

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The subject is the Viaduct of Auteuil, an elaborate, two-story, 1,073-meter-long viaduct with 151 arches that spanned the distance between the town of Auteuil and the Point-du-Jour bridge outside Paris. Although the absolute symmetry of the bridge and light posts is compelling and might have attracted another photographer, Hippolyte-Auguste Collard made a less obvious choice, positioning his camera at the end of the Point du Jour, slightly off-center and toward the middle of the right pedestrian arcade. This view establishes an unobstructed line of sight to a point in the far distance, making the viaduct seem infinite. The shadowy sweep of the bridge overhead fans out of the frame like a lopsided crown, while a puddle of water just in front of the left pedestrian passageway, whose arch bears the stains of seeping water, suggests a more mundane problem threatening the impressive structure.

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