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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (April 6 1820 – March 21 1910) was a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist.


Nadar was born in 1820 in Paris (although some sources state Lyon). He was a caricaturist for Le Charivari in 1848. In 1849 he created the Revue comique and the Petit journal pour rire. He took his first photographs in 1853 and in 1858 became the first person to take aerial photographs. Around 1863, Nadar built a huge (6000 m³) hot air balloon named Le Géant ("The Giant"), thereby inspiring Jules Verne's Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). The "Géant" project was unsuccessful and convinced him that the future belonged to heavier-than-air machines. Afterwards "The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines" was established, with Nadar as president and Jules Verne as secretary.

On his visit to Brussels with the Géant, on September 26, 1864, Nadar erected mobile barriers to keep the crowd at a safe distance. Up to this day, mobile barriers are known in Belgium as Nadar barriers.

In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible. He photographed Victor Hugo on his death-bed in 1885. He is credited with having published (in 1886) the first photo-interview (of famous chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, then a centenarian), and also took erotic photographs.

On his passing in 1910, Nadar was buried in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The character of "Michel Ardan" in Verne's De la Terre à la Lune (From Earth to the Moon) is inspired by Nadar.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nadar" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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