A serial publication of 241 portraits of artists, literary and political persons active in France during the Second Empire and Third Republic. Issued as a weekly from 1876-1880, and from 1880-1894 as an annual publication concentrating almost entirely on the visual arts.The photographs were the work of approximately 28 photographers, mostly with studios in Paris, which were printed by Goupil et cie. either by the Woodburytype process (smaller) or carbon print (larger) process, and were accompanied by biographical essays, which were often, if not always, signed by the author. Reference: Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), p. 84. Conversation with David and Constance Yates (New York dealers).