Monday’s Photography Inspiration – Charles Soulier

Charles Soulier (1840 – 1876) was a French photographer mostly known for his panoramas of Paris between 1854 and185, later worked with stereoscopic views.


It is unclear when Charles Soulier was born or died. The first mention of him is in a magazine La Lumiere where he is described as a “painter on glass” who has been perfecting his art at the same time searching for applications where he could employ his craft. After the discovery of photography on glass by Niepce de Saint Victor, Soulier started researching various ways in which he could apply painting on glass to the photographs that could be now obtained on the same medium. After the revolution of 1848 he had to quit Paris to become a professor of drawing in a provincial college.

The freestanding Tour Saint-Jacques that one sees today in a park just off the rue de Rivoli in the heart of Paris is all that remains of the Gothic church of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie. 1867.
The freestanding Tour Saint-Jacques that one sees today in a park just off the rue de Rivoli in the heart of Paris is all that remains of the Gothic church of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie. 1867. Photographer: Charles Soulier
Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile à Paris, 1865.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile à Paris, 1865. Photographer: Charles Soulier

After some time Soulier took up his studies in coloring of photographic prints on glass again. In 1852 he already demonstrated some of the photographs to which he applied his painting techniques in Paris.

On the 31st of August of 1853 Soulier joins the company that Athanase Clouzard formed in 1851 together with Louis This, Alfred Sarrault and several others, which was called “Sarrault et Cie”. At the same time Alfred Sarrault leaves to work on his own and the company is renamed “This, Soulier, Clouzard et Cie”. In August of that same year the company files for a patent describing a method of painting over stereoscopic images.

In 1854 Soulier and Clouzard form a separate company from This and launch a business of taking and selling their own stereoviews. (The original business was sold to a German firm Bernard, Voigt et Cie. in 1856.)

Le château de Saint-Cloud après, 1870.
Le château de Saint-Cloud après, 1870. Photographer: Charles Soulier

Maisons de la porte d'Auteuil, May 1971.
Maisons de la porte d’Auteuil, May 1871. Photographer: Charles Soulier

The company of Soulier and Clouzard was one of the main competitor of Claude-Marie Ferrier in the making of stereoscopic photographs on glass. Already in 1854 they started supplying Dubosq.

In 1855 Soulier and Clouzard participate in the International Exhibition in Paris and receive a second class medal for their work. In 1857 the firm receives a medal at the art exhibition in Brussels.

By 1859 the firm had more than 700 views of France, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

On the 9th of June, 1859 Clouzard sells his part of the company and the rights to the whole collection of stereoviews to Soulier.

Same year Soulier creates a partnership with Claude-Marie Ferrier. In 1863 they would sell the company to the rich traders Moyse Levy and his son-in-law Isaac (Georges) Levy.

Soulier continues to practice photography. Thus in 1867 he received a bronze medal at the International Exhibition in Paris.

Photograph shows obelisk and fountain in Place de la Concorde with palaces, Rue Royale, and Church of the Madeleine in the background. 1865.
Photograph shows obelisk and fountain in Place de la Concorde with palaces, Rue Royale, and Church of the Madeleine in the background. 1865. Photographer: Charles Soulier

Photograph shows the charred remains of the once lavish audience hall of the Council of State in the Palais d'Orsay, a building begun by Napoleon I, completed in 1840 under King Louis-Philippe, and burned by the Communards on May 23, 1871. In the last years of the nineteenth century, these ruins were replaced by a new railway station, the Gare d'Orsay.
Photograph shows the charred remains of the once lavish audience hall of the Council of State in the Palais d’Orsay, a building begun by Napoleon I, completed in 1840 under King Louis-Philippe, and burned by the Communards on May 23, 1871. In the last years of the nineteenth century, these ruins were replaced by a new railway station, the Gare d’Orsay. Photographer: Charles Soulier

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