May 21 and 22, 2013
May 18 to August 25, 2013
Art and photography have a long and exciting common history, which has not always been free of conflict. In the mid nineteenth century, photographers delivered painters templates for their works, but at the same time there was quite a rivalry between the disciplines. Thus photography developed a new visual language. Precisely this Pictorialist photography, which was for a long time dismissed as ‘pretentious kitsch’, has been in the spotlight again recently in this context, as not only modern theories of perception were tested and put into practice, but also the first processes of abstraction were explored.
The discrepancy that was claimed between art photography and the ‘New Vision’ of the avant-garde is therefore not as pronounced as hitherto supposed. In any case, Pictorialist photography is one of the movements that has been researched the least. This book fills the gap, presenting selected aspects in incisive essays. It draws on previously unpublished picture material, such as the alleged first gum bichromate print by the Hofmeister brothers, the protagonists of art photo- graphy in Germany. However, previously completely unknown photographers, like the American Wallace Edwin Dancy, are also presented for the first time in this book.
This comprehensive study of pictorialist photography fills a significant gap in the history of photography. Using many previously unpublished works, it shows that art photography and the ‘new vision’ of the avant-garde are more closely related than has for a long time been supposed.
This publication was created in cooperation with the degree course Literature–Art–Media of the University of Konstanz/Germany, Faculty of Literary Studies.