Villa Paloma in Monaco hosts a new exhibition of the works of long forgotten local artist and explorer, Hercule Florence.

He may have developed a method for printing photographic images using silver nitrate and urine in 1833, and had his experiments published in a Rio de Janeiro journal, but Monegasque-Brazilian artist Hercule Florence nonetheless lived most of his life in relative obscurity. He never got the place he deserved in history for his contributions to modern photographic processes.

A new exhibition of his works being held at Villa Paloma in Monaco is thankfully rectifying this, and finally giving him the proper credit he should have received much earlier.

Born in Nice to a surgeon in Napaloeon Bonaparte’s army and to a Monegasque mother, Augustine Vignalis, Hercule Florence grew up in the Principality. At the age of 20, he was hired as a cabin boy on the French ship Marie-Thérèse, which was touring the world and it was during a stopover in Rio in 1824, that he decided to stay in the city. A year later he was selected by the Baron of Langsdorff to document his scientific expedition to South America.

For five years, Florence was in charge of collecting information about the flora, fauna, and native tribes of the Amazonas. To do so, he invented what has been dubbed the Zoophonie to record the musical notation of bird songs as well as the Polygraphia, a printing method based on the principles of photography.

He also produced a series of drawings documenting the culture of coffee in the north of Sao Paulo and the native populations, put together a “Picturesque-Celestial Atlas” that depicted clouds in the sky of Campinas, and also produced many scientific manuscripts and biographical diaries, in which he detailed his research as well as the Langsdorff expedition which came to a tragic end..

Part of theses drawings and manuscripts are among the 400 pieces of art on display in Monaco alongside the first photographic copy of the history of the Americas as well as works created specifically exhibition by international artists such as Lucia Koch, Jochen Lempert, Leticia Ramos and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané.

Hercule Florence expo

‘Hercule Florence, Le Nouveau Robinson’ exhibit at the Villa Paloma runs until the 11th of June 2017. Tickets costs €6 and the exhibition is open daily from 11am to 7 pm.

CONTACT DETAILS
Villa Paloma
56, boulevard du Jardin Exotique
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 91 26

 

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Image credits:

Lead image via Quentin M. on foursquare

The following images courtesy Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (in order of appearance):

Portrait of Hercule Florence
Unknow photograher, between 1839 and 1850 Daguerreotipo
Suporte: prata e vidro
11,8 x 9,5 cm
Collection C. H. Florence – Leila et Silvia Florence São Paulo, Brésil
Photo credit : Jorge Bastos

Hercule Florence
Indio Apiaca, S. Carlos 1841
Polygraphy
26,5 x 14,4 cm
Collection C. H. Florence – Leila et Silvia Florence São Paulo, Brésil
Photo credit : Jorge Bastos

Hercule Florence
Céu às 4 horas da tarde, n.d.
Watercolor on paper
23,5 x 37,7 cm
Collection C. H. Florence – Leila et Silvia Florence São Paulo, Brésil
Photo credit : Jorge Bastos

Hercule Florence
Sem titulo, n.d.
watercolor and oil pastel on paper
23,4 x 37,8 cm
Collection C. H. Florence – Leila et Silvia Florence São Paulo, Brésil
Photo credit : Jorge Bastos

Hercule Florence
Sem titulo (canoa de Guatòs, ao por-do-sol), ca. 1835
watercolor and China ink on paper
32×43,5cm
Collection C. H. Florence – Leila et Silvia Florence São Paulo, Brésil
Photo credit : Jorge Bastos

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