The collection comprises twenty-one
albumen photographs of Algerians taken by French photographer Félix Moulin during his
eighteen-month trip to Algeria from 1856 to 1857. Included are portraits of Algerian chiefs,
holy men, scholars, musicians and dancers, fishermen, and water carriers. Also included are
a few portraits of French administrators in Algeria.
The French photographer, Félix-Jacques-Antoine Moulin was born in 1802. Little is known
regarding his training as a photographer, but by 1849 Moulin was selling daguerreotypes of
nudes from his Paris studio at 31 bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre. Purportedly created as
academy or nude studies for use by artists, Moulin's images seemed to have had a wider
audience and his sitters were often teenage girls. In 1851, his premises along with those of
Jules Malacrida, an optician and dealer, and Mme. veuve René, another daguerreotypist, were
raided. The three were tried together for the possession and sale of "obscene objects" in a
closed-door session of the Cour d'assises de la Seine. Moulin was sentenced to a month in
prison and fined 100 francs. After his release Moulin reopened his studio using another
entrance that went through 23, rue Richer. Throughout his career Moulin continued to produce
and exhibit female nudes, protecting himself by placing copies of them on legal deposit at
the Bibliothèque Impériale, Paris, and action which signaled that his photographs were not
intended as erotica but as studies meant to be used by artists.
1 Linear Feet
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