François-Marie-Louis-Alexandre Gobinet de Villecholle
Francois-Marie-Louis-Alexandre Gobinet de Villecholle, a 19th -century French photographer who used the pseudonym “Franck,” was also an educator in Paris. After pursuing a literary career, he began making daguerreotypes in 1845. From 1849 through 1857 he lived in Barcelona, Spain. He took photographs of Germany and Spain, and published an album of landscape photographs of Spain. In 1859 he moved to Paris, working as a photographer until 1880. He may have adopted his pseudonym because commercial photography was not thought to be an appropriate calling for someone of his social class. Franck took photographs of a wide variety of subjects, including portraits, landscapes, artistic reproductions, ancient monuments, group portraits from high schools and French industry. He published albums of his portraits and of landscape photographs, and L’Art ancien, a catalog of a thousand images of fine art from the collections of Emperor Napoleon III (1803-1873), various museums and private collections. Franck taught photography at the Ecole Impérale centrale des arts et manufactures in 1863 and as a professor at the Ecole Centrale in 1862. He exhibited at the 1865 exhibition of the Union centrale des Beaux-Arts appliqués à l’industrie. As did other Parisian photographers, Franck photographed the destruction caused during the Commune of 1871. He sold his studio in 1880, retired to Asnières in 1890 and died there in 1906. (TNB 2/2010) Selected bibliography: *Hannavy, John, ed. Encyclopedia of 19th Century Photography, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008, v.1, pp 455-456. McCauley, Elizabeth Anne. Industrial Madness: commercial photography in Paris, 1848-1871. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. (source: De Young Museum)
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