The Daguerre Monument by Jonathan Scott Hartley

The Daguerre Monument - Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery in the Background

The Daguerre Monument - Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery in the Background

This sculpture is located on the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

A plaque near the monument provides following information:

The Daguerre Monument

The French artist Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) became interested in the 1820s in trying to capture images photographically. In August 1839 his “Daguerreotype” technique–fixing an image on a light-sensitive, polished silver plate–was announced to the public. This was the first photographic process to be used widely in Europe and the United States.

In 1890 the Professional Photographers of America donated this monument to Daguerre, by the American sculptor Jonathan Scott Hartley, to the American people. The bronze figure was cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York. Placed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum Building (now known as the Arts and Industries Building) to celebrate the first half-century of photography, the monument was displayed on the Mall from 1897 to 1969.

The rededication of the Daguerre Monument in 1989 was sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of photography.

The inscription on the monument reads:

Photography, the electric telegraph, and the steam engine are the three great discoveries of the age. No five centuries in human progress can show such strides as these.

The Daguerre Monument is located on the grounds of the National Portrait Gallery near the southeast corner of the building. The National Portrait Gallery is located at 801 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Daguerre Monument.

Closest Metro Station: The Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station on the Red Line is nearest to the Portrait Gallery.

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