12
May
10

Exhibition: ‘The Platinum Process: Photographs from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century’ at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: 27th February – 23rd May 2010

.

Many thankx to Shen Shellenberger and the Philadelphia Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the last five images in the posting. Platinum prints always have such luminosity. ‘A Sea of Steps’ by Fredrick H. Evans (1903, below) is a knockout. I remember some beautiful platinum prints many years ago (1989) up in Sydney at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the touring exhibition ‘Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment’ that were an absolute knockout as well. Pity he didn’t print them himself but they were still superlative!

Click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

.

Frederick H. Evans
‘Southwell Cathedral, Chapter House Capital’
1898
Platinum print

.

.

Frederick H. Evans
‘View across the nave to the transept at York Minster’
1901
Platinum print

.

.

Frederick H. Evans
‘York Minster – In Sure and Certain Hope’
1903
Platinum print

.

.

Frederick H. Evans
‘A Sea of Steps – Stairs to Chapter House – Wells Cathedral’
1903
Platinum print

.

.

Frederick H. Evans
‘Ancient crypt cellars in Provins’
1910
Platinum print

.

.

Exhibition Highlights the Exceptional Beauty of the Platinum Process in Photography

A cornerstone of photographic practice during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the platinum print is revered by photographers and viewers alike as one of the most beautiful forms of photography, with subtle and lustrous shades that range from the deepest blacks to the most delicate whites. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present an exhibition of more than 50 works from the late 19th century to the present, showcasing outstanding prints largely drawn from the Museum’s collection of photographs. The Platinum Process: Photographs from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century, on view February 27 – May 23 in the Julien Levy Gallery at the Museum’s Perelman Building, will include images by early masters of the process including Frederick H. Evans (British, 1853-1943) and Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946), as well as works by skilled contemporary practitioners such as Lois Conner (American, born 1951) and Andrea Modica (American, born 1960), who continue to engage in this historic and painstaking process in an era noted for electronic imaging.

“The exhibition offers an opportunity to share this exceptionally beautiful form of photography with our visitors, some of whom may be seeing it for the first time,” Curator of Photographs Peter Barberie said, adding “the Museum is fortunate to have a particularly strong and varied collection of work by some of the truly great practitioners of this process.”

Unlike standard silver printing, in which particles are suspended in gelatin, platinum is brushed directly onto the paper, allowing artists to create a matte image with an exceptionally wide tonal range. Introduced in 1873, the process was enthusiastically embraced by the group of photographers known as the Pictorialists, who believed that fine art photography should emulate the aesthetic values of painting. The group included Evans, whose beautifully rendered images of Britain’s Westminster Abbey, York Minster Abbey and Ely Cathedral are included in the exhibition, and Stieglitz (American, 1876-1946), who is represented in the show by a portrait of his wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887-1986), as well as a landscape that foreshadows his Equivalents series.

While encompassing works spanning many dates and styles, The Platinum Process highlights one of the Museum’s treasures, the 1915 masterpiece “Wall Street” by Paul Strand (1890-1976 – see below), whose work was at the forefront of the modernist aesthetic developing in New York during the early 20th century. Strand used the subtlety of the platinum print in this work to emphasize abstract patterns in the long shadows cast by figures that walk before a succession of monumental windows.

Reserves of platinum were appropriated for military use during World War I, and its high cost led manufacturers to cease production of commercial platinum paper by the 1930s. As photographers became more engaged in social concerns, documentation and realism, the process fell into disuse. It was not until the early 1960s when Irving Penn, then a successful photographer for Vogue magazine, began to experiment with the long-forgotten technique and took the first steps toward its revival. A meticulous craftsman, Penn was delighted by the luminous prints and lavish tonal range he could achieve using platinum and began to make new photographs with this process in the 1970s. Penn and many of the other contemporary artists on view including Thomas Shillea and Jennette Williams followed Strand’s example, using platinum not for idealized pictures, but to capture nuances of modern experience.”

Press release from The Philadelphia Museum of Art website

.

.

Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976
‘City Hall Park, New York’

1915
Platinum print, Sheet: 13 7/8 x 7 3/4 inches (35.2 x 19.7 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of the artist, 1972.

.

.

Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976
‘Man in a Derby, New York’
1916
Platinum print, Image: 12 13/16 x 9 15/16 inches (32.5 x 25.2 cm)
Mat: 22 11/16 x 19 7/16 inches (57.6 x 49.4 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915-1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980.

.

.

Alvin Langdon Coburn, British (born United States), 1882 – 1966
‘George Seeley’
c. 1902-3
Platinum print, Image and sheet: 11 x 8 9/16 inches (27.9 x 21.7 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, the Alice Newton Osborn Fund, and with funds contributed by The Judith Rothschild Foundation in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum, 2002.

.

.

Frederick H. Evans, British, 1853 – 1943
‘Kelmscott Manor: Attics’
1896
Platinum print, Sheet: 6 1/16 x 7 7/8 inches (15.4 x 20.0 cm)
Mount: 6 3/4 x 8 3/16 inches (17.1 x 20.8 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of the artist, 1932.

.

.

Paul Strand (American, 1890 – 1976)
‘Wall Street’
1915
Photograph taken in New York, New York, United States
Platinum print, 9 15/16 x 12 5/8 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915-1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980.

.

.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Opening hours:
Tuesday through Sunday: 10am – 5pm

The Philadelphia Museum of Art website

Bookmark and Share


1 Response to “Exhibition: ‘The Platinum Process: Photographs from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century’ at Philadelphia Museum of Art”


  1. September 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    great blog. thank you for this all: :) max


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Join 1,143 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

For photographic services in Australia, Art Blart highly recommends CPL Digital (03) 8376 8376 cpldigital.com.au/

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘The Songs of Eternity’ 1994

Recent Posts

Lastest tweets

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

May 2010
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives

Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,143 other followers

%d bloggers like this: