This daguerreotype is the first known photograph of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). The circumstances in which the photograph was taken are evident from Delacroix’s letters. In 1842, exhausted by a respiratory disease, Delacroix asked if he could stay with his cousin, the painter Léon Riesener (1808-1878), in the country at Frépillon (Val-d’Oise). On 13 March 1842, he told a friend that to take his mind off his weariness he was illustrating Götz von Berlichingen, a play written by Goethe in 1773, and having himself “daguerreotyped”.
Later, in 1858, Delacroix was photographed by Nadar. Ill at the time, he hated his portrait and asked Nadar to destroy the plate, but the photographer kept it. (from Notice, Musée d’Orsay)