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The Great Nadar

The Great Nadar by Adam Begley
Jul 11, 2017 | 256 Pages
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  • Hardcover $28.00

    Jul 11, 2017 | 256 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Jul 11, 2017 | 256 Pages

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New York Times Editors’ Choice

“Concise and thoughtful. . . . Begley delivers a subtle accounting of Nadar’s career as a photographer while reminding us of his subject’s many other talents and exploits. . . . This book, like Nadar’s life, roars past with a whooshing sound.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“A window on an era of extraordinary artistic endeavor. . . . Mr. Begley has combed through an array of literature, letters, guest books, invitations, drawings and other miscellany to tease out a nuanced portrait of one of the world’s first celebrity artist-entrepreneurs.” —Tobias Grey, The Wall Street Journal

“Masterful. . . . Begley’s vibrant new biography tells Nadar’s story in all its colorful detail. . . . We can be grateful to Begley for capturing some of that quicksilver spirit, that quintessentially Parisian sensibility, which left us with images that are, in their bewitching way, timeless.” —Thad Carhart, Newsday

“A sympathetic and judicious book. . . crammed with character and incident. . . . Nadar was one of the greatest portraitists in photographic history. . . . He would have been very much at home in our day.” —Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review

“A superb account of one of the nineteenth century’s most irrepressible spirits. Nadar was the founding genius of photography, especially portraiture, a heroic, disaster-prone balloonist, as well as a journalist, cartoonist, would-be revolutionary and one of the first ‘bohemians’. Adam Begley brilliantly evokes the Paris of the Second Republic and Second Empire, its gloriously impoverished and eccentric artistic milieu, its squalor and political turmoil. Nadar knew everyone and took the photographs of the men and women who defined the era. Here the best work is excellently reproduced and discussed with great sensitivity and insight; from every point of view The Great Nadar is a beautiful book.” —Ian McEwan

“Nadar described himself as a reckless enthusiast, a hyperkinetic presence, every father-in-law’s worst nightmare, someone who ‘never missed an opportunity to talk about rope in a house where someone has been hanged or ought to be hanged.’  That was nowhere near the half of it.  Adam Begley fills in the rest, providing a portrait every bit as seductive as was its irresistible, irrepressible subject.” —Stacy Schiff

“Adam Begley has found the perfect biographical subject in Nadar—an irrepressible artist, a daring pioneer, a wild-eyed visionary, an outrageous self-promoter, and an enfant terrible, who, like some sort of Zelig, seemed to turn up alongside every major figure in Paris during the heady period of the mid-nineteenth century. But what makes this book so mesmerizing is Begley, who, with his own artistry, brings Nadar roaring to life on every page.” —David Grann

“A completely fascinating, thoughtful and most elegantly written biography of one of the great early photographers.” —William Boyd

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