Three Pipers (Trois Pifferari)

about 1853–54
Charles Nègre (French, 1820–1880)

Catalogue Raisonné

James Borcoman, "Charles Negre, 1820-1880," Ottawa: 1976, related to cat. nos. 106-108, 131-132.


Image/sheet: 15.9 x 20.2 cm (6 1/4 x 7 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, salt print from wet-collodion-on-glass negative

Not On View


Europe, Photography



Charles Nègre belonged to the first generation of artist-photographers in France. His training as an artist informed all of the works in his large and varied oeuvre, perhaps especially his studies of the street people of Paris and their occupations, long a favorite subject of printmakers. His genre scenes, which were posed because of the protracted exposures, are pioneering examples of street photography, depicting familiar types such as ragpickers, chimney sweeps, and stonemasons. Exotic Italian pipers, shown here at rest in a palpitating light, had a strong presence in the artistic and musical imagination of the day. Nègre’s salted paper print lends a soft, pictorial effect to the details of their instruments, costume, and physiognomy.


Signed in ink recto lower left


Sotheby's Paris Jammes III sale lot 335 (March 22, 2002); purchased for the MFA through Charles Isaacs, NY (importer of record), accessioned by MFA Sept. 25, 2002

Credit Line

Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund and Museum purchase with funds donated by Saundra B. Lane