Léonard Misonne

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Léonard Misonne
Léonard Misonne Portrait.jpg
Born(1870-07-01)1 July 1870
Died14 September 1943(1943-09-14) (aged 73)
Known forPhotography
Valentine Lambin (m. 1906)

Léonard Misonne (1 July 1870 – 14 September 1943) was a Belgian pictorialist photographer. He is known for his landscapes and street scenes with atmospheric skies.

Early life[edit]

Born to a wealthy family in Gilly, Belgium in 1870, Léonard Misonne was one of many children of Adèle Pirmez and lawyer and industrialist Louis Misonne.[1][2] He studied Greek and humanities in Charleroi[3][1] before going to the Université catholique de Louvain where he got a degree in mining engineering.[4] However, he did not become a mining engineer in the long term.[3][5][a]


Returning from the market, 1910s

Misonne is best known for his atmospheric photographs of landscapes and street scenes, with light as a key feature,[6] and as a pioneer of pictorialism.[5][7] According to the Directory of Belgian Photographers, "Misonne’s work is characterised by a masterly treatment of light and atmospheric conditions. His images express poetic qualities, but sometimes slip into an anecdotal sentimentality."[4] He was nicknamed "the Corot of photography".[8][9]

Misonne devoted himself to photography from 1896,[1] joining the Belgian Photography Association in 1897.[10][5] He became a leading light in pictorialism, frequently exhibiting his photographs at exhibitions.[4][3] He also did slide shows.[5] Much of his photography was in Belgium and the Netherlands,[8] but he also visited London, France, Germany and Switzerland. The German occupation of Belgium during World War II greatly restricted his photography.[5]


Misonne would often photograph things that were strongly illuminated from behind, producing a halo effect.[10] He would also retouch the lighting effects in his photographs,[8] experimenting with and using many techniques, such as the Fresson process and later the bromoil and mediobrome processes.[9][11][11][4] He also invented the "flou-net" and "photo-dessin" processes.[7][10][3]


The subject is nothing, light is everything[12][8][13]

The sky is the key to the landscape[10][14]

Personal life[edit]

Misonne married Louise Valentine Lambin in 1906, and they had several children.[15][b] He supported himself with the family fortune.[7]

Misonne was a keen cyclist, winning some races.[7]

Misonne suffered severely from asthma throughout his life, and died in Gilly in 1943.[5][8]


  • Tableaux photographiques, by Léonard Misonne, 1927[1][16]



  1. ^ Sources differ on whether he actually worked as a mining engineer at all
  2. ^ Some sources spell his wife's name as Labin, but this article assumes that the spelling in the genealogy site is correct


  1. ^ a b c d "Léonard Misonne: Belgian, 1870 - 1943". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Louis-Désiré Misonne: family tree". Marcel l'Hoost. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Turn of the Century: London, 1899 By Léonard Misonne". Ridley McIntyre. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Misonne, Léonard". Foto Museum. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Léonard Misonne". Galerie Retelet. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Léonard Misonne". ND Magazine. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "Matinee: Leonard Misonne". Mike Pasini. 2006-03-01. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Leonard Misonne". pammyv02. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Monday's photography inspiration – Leonard Misonne". pammyv02. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Oil Prints and Bromoil" (PDF). Jacques Kevers. 2001. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Max Dupain". National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Léonard Misonne". Galerie Retelet. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  13. ^ "When Photos Looked Like Paintings: Dreamy Landscape Photographs Taken By Leonard Misonne". Dmitry. 2001-08-18. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Leonard Misonne: family tree". Marcel l'Hoost. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Tableaux photographiques / par Léonard Misonne". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 30 October 2019.