Photograph: Werner Mantz. ‘Bridge’ 1929

17th January 2016


A single image posting, which is a rarity on Art Blart … just because the image is so fab. This is a brilliant image – the same year as Weston’s first Point Lobos images. Click on the image to enlarge it.

My mentor IL said of this image:

“I doubt that the film has been developed in a great tonal developer like pyrogallol or D-23. You would have to be the world’s finest technician to develop large format film as evenly as this in pyro – nor do the shadows show any compensation.

It is a standard developer – but a great film. There were films made by Adox (for example) that were rich in emulsion. I suspect a moderate filter to make the sky a little darker – (a yellow / green filter or an orange, probably the former guessing the colours beyond the bridge). The way the blue shadows under the bridge are so dark, it could be either of these filters. I don’t think a red, it would be too dramatic in the sky.

Anyhow it is all to do with the sharpness and the tonal separation in the middle greys. This is a very early example of pre-visualisation – and being able to execute this that pre-visualisation. That is what I wanted to say!”



Werner Mantz. 'Bridge' 1929


Werner Mantz (German, 1901-1983)
Silver gelatin print



Wern­er Mantz (1901-1983) is known as one of the most promi­nent pho­to­g­ra­phers of the Neues Bauen move­ment of mod­er­nist ar­chi­tec­ture in Cologne dur­ing the 1920s. Born and raised in Cologne, in 1921 he opened a pho­to stu­dio, where he ini­tial­ly took por­traits of fa­mous in­tel­lec­tu­als, artists, and politi­cians. In 1926 he be­gan re­ceiv­ing com­mis­sions as an ar­chi­tec­tu­ral pho­to­g­ra­pher for Wil­helm Riphahn, Peter Franz Nöck­er, Cas­par Maria Grod, and other rep­re­sen­ta­tives of avant-garde ar­chi­tec­ture who im­ple­ment­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer’s hous­ing pol­i­cy for a mod­ern Cologne. Architec­tu­ral mag­azines such as Bauwelt, Die Form, and Bauwarte fre­quent­ly pub­lished his works. Their ob­jec­tive, black-and-white aus­ter­i­ty gives the de­sert­ed build­ings and streets in Mantz’s pic­tures the ap­pear­ance of monu­men­tal back­drops of the mod­ern age. It was th­ese pic­tures that made Cologne’s mod­er­nist ar­chi­tec­ture renowned be­yond the boun­daries of the ci­ty.

In 1932 Mantz opened a se­cond stu­dio in Maas­tricht, and he moved to the Nether­lands in 1938. There he re­turned to por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy and spe­cial­ized in por­traits of chil­dren. He saw his por­traits as equal­ly im­por­tant as his ar­chi­tec­tu­ral pho­to­graphs, but they have not yet been ex­hibit­ed. The Mu­se­um Lud­wig will now bring to­gether th­ese two as­pects of his oeu­vre and will al­low vis­i­tors to ex­pe­ri­ence it in its his­tor­i­cal breadth and di­ver­si­ty for the first time ev­er.

Text from the Museum Ludwig website [Online] Cited 08/09/2021




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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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