Accompanying Image / Photo Example: 

Paul Briol, Tyler Davidson Fountain, 1937, Gelatin Silver Print, 10 x 8", courtesy of the Paul Briol Collection, Cincinnati Museum Center 

Cincinnati Museum Center

1301 Western Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45203  

(513) 287-7000
Monday through Saturday 10 am–5 pm
Sunday 11 am–6 pm


The Photographic Legacy of Paul Briol, 1909-1955
October 1–November 1

The work of Paul Briol comprises an unmatched historical and aesthetic record of Cincinnati. His photographs are valuable not only as a record of what once existed, but also how places familiar to Cincinnatians today appeared decades ago: a bustling Union Terminal, stevedores working on Ohio River steamboats, and old Coney Island. It is difficult to comprehend the degree of skill Briol possessed. A meticulous technician, Briol produced images almost exclusively working with a tripod-mounted 8 x 10 inch view camera, and often spent hours printing a single photograph to his exact specifications. The finished prints present an extraordinary degree of detail, mastery of light and shadow, and a dramatic sense of composition that characterizes his photographs of 20th century Cincinnati. 

Born in Massachusetts in 1889, Paul Briol came to Cincinnati in 1909, working as a journalist and photographer until 1920. During the 1920s he managed The Book Shelf, an unorthodox bookstore that soon attracted Cincinnati’s intelligentsia. After closing The Book Shelf in 1930, Briol opened and operated a photographic studio from 1932 until 1955, when a serious automobile accident forced him to close the business. Briol died in New York City in 1969.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is a one-of-a-kind, multi-museum complex housed in Union Terminal, an historic Art Deco train station and National Historic Landmark. Museum Center's major offerings include the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, and the Cincinnati History Library & Archives.