Collection Artwork
Charles Hippolyte Aubry (Paris, France, 1811 – 1877, Paris, France)
American Beauty (Study of Roses)
c. 1864
albumen print on board
image size: 13 1/4 x 10 1/4 in.
paper size: 13 1/4 x 10 1/4 in.
board size: 18 x 14 in.
The Jack Shear Collection of Photography at the Tang Teaching Museum
2017.41.103
Inscribed in pencil, lower right, on board edge: 31 [circled]
Inscribed in pencil, board verso, upper right: Q1228
Inscribed in pencil, board verso, lower left: P.I. 31, 3, 9
Inscribed in pen, board verso, lower left, directly below former: American Beauty

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Tang Collective Catalog


At first, American Beauty (Study of Roses) appears purely aesthetic, with atmospheric lighting, dramatic angles, and a sharpened subject matter. Aubry’s artistic choices captivate our eyes even without the flowers’ typical allures of vivid color and velvety feel. But up close, dehydrated, veiny, insect-eaten petals and brittle leaves reconstruct our perception of roses—society’s symbol of all things beautiful, perfect, and “natural.” I wondered, why would Aubry, with his man-made camera and chemical production process, capture roses past their prime? Upon further research, I learned about 19th-century French roses—hybridized with Chinese roses and chemically altered to satisfy the tastes of society’s consumers. Aubry’s work opened new discovery channels for me to contemplate society’s concealed thorns and how they have shaped my own identity.
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Pattern by Jonnea Herman ’18
Inspired by the annual February Tang <3 Students Event
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.