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Release: Immediate

UI Museum of Art shows photographic 'Record of a Lost Paris'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will exhibit "Charles Marville: A Record of a Lost Paris" from Nov. 15 to Feb. 1 in the museum's Paper Gallery. The photographs in the exhibition depict the city of Paris as it looked before an urban renewal project in the 1860s destroyed much of the old city.

The exhibition will be open to the public free of charge.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Stephen Prokopoff, director of the museum, will present a lecture and gallery tour of the photographs at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.

In the 1860s, under the orders of Emperor Napoleon III, the city of Paris undertook one of the most extensive urban renewal projects of modern times, which resulted in many of the wide boulevards and open public spaces for which Paris is now famous. The project also resulted in the destruction of a great deal of the old and crowded city, the look of which Marville was commissioned to capture in photographs.

Although few prints of his negatives were made, Marville is considered one of the great early French photographers, and in his lifetime his photographs enjoyed wide acclaim.

The French government, however, was more concerned with Marville's photographs as historical documentation of Paris than as works of art. Marville was carefully instructed to systematically detail every area of the city that was to be destroyed.

Prokopoff said, "The French are very concerned with their own history, and so when they embarked on the Parisian renewal project, one of their priorities was to document the way the city looked."

Today the photographs are valued as works of art by an exceptionally talented early photographer as well as a detailed record of a Paris that no longer exists.

The UI Museum of Art acquired the photographs for the exhibition from the Musee Carnavalet in Paris.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.