Posts Tagged ‘Anne Brigman

31
Jan
16

Exhibition: ‘Art Nouveau. The Great Utopia’ at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 17th October 2015 – 7th February 2016

Among the artists exhibited are: Emile Bernard, Edward Burne-Jones, Peter Behrens, Carlo Bugatti, Mariano For-tuny, Loïe Fuller, Emile Gallé, Paul Gauguin, Karl Gräser, Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, Fernand Khnopff, René Lalique, Elena Luksch-Makowsky, Charles R. Mackintosh, Madame D’Ora, Louis Majorelle, Paula Modersohn-Becker,  William Morris, Alfons Mucha, Richard Riemerschmid, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Louis C. Tiffany, Henry van de Velde.

 

 

Sports at the beach in Wyk on the island of Föhr c. 1912

 

Anonymous photographer
Sports at the beach in Wyk on the island of Föhr
Sanatorium Carl Gmelin, c. 1912
Collection The Ingwersen Family
© Fotoarchiv Ingwersen Wyk

 

 

What a memorable exhibition!

The presentation of the work is excellent, just what one would hope for, and the works themselves are magnificent – objects that you would hope existed, but didn’t know for sure that they did.

Particularly interesting are the use of large historical photographs of the objects in use in situ, behind the actual object itself; the presence of large three-dimensional structures (such as the Erkerzimmer for the Hotel Gallia in Nice, 1894-1900) built in the gallery; and the welcome lack of “wallpaper noise” (as I call it) that has dogged recent exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria (eg. the ongoing Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei exhibition). It is so nice to be able to contemplate these objects without the additional and unnecessary “noise” of competing wallpaper behind each object.

The work itself reflects the time from which it emanates – visual, disruptive, psychological, technical, natural, beautiful and sensual – locating “Art Nouveau in its historical context of ideas as a reform movement with all its manifold facets and extremes. Adopting a particular focus on the relationship between nature and technology, [the exhibition] illuminates the most varied disciplines, ranging far beyond the movement of arts and crafts and reaching as far as the history of medicine and the technology of film-making… The ideal of superior craft in contrast to industrial articles collides with the commercial idea of competition and the marketing strategies at that time. Therefore the exhibition project manoeuvres at the intersection of utopia and capitalism.”

One of the most vital periods of creativity in all fields in recent history.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) 'Manao Tupapau (The Ghost of the Dead awakens)' 1894

 

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
Manao Tupapau (The Ghost of the Dead awakens)
Manao Tupapau (Der Geist der Toten wacht) | Manao Tupapau (The Spirit Watches Over Her)

1894
Lithograph on zinc sheet
Sheet: 30.6 x 46cm
© Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen

 

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) 'Lying Female Nude' Vienna, 1914-15

 

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918)
Lying Female Nude
Vienna, 1914-15
Pencil
37.6 x  57.1cm
© Wien Museum

 

Anne Brigman (1869–1950) 'The Wondrous Globe' 1912

 

Anne Brigman (American, 1869-1950)
The Wondrous Globe
1912
Photogravure (from Camera Work)
21.1 x 19.9cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

George Méliès (1861-1938) (Regie) 'Voyage to the Moon' 1902

 

George Méliès (French, 1861-1938) (Regie)
Le Voyage dans la Lune | Die Reise zum Mond | Voyage to the Moon
France, 1902
16 Min.
© BFI National Archive

 

 

 

A Trip to the Moon – the 1902 Science Fiction Film by Georges Méliès

A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. It’s considered one of the first science fiction film.

A Trip to the Moon ( Le Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French adventure film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Jules Verne’s novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon, the film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the Moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of Selenites (lunar inhabitants), and return to Earth with a captive Selenite. It features an ensemble cast of French theatrical performers, led by Méliès himself in the main role of Professor Barbenfouillis, and is filmed in the overtly theatrical style for which Méliès became famous.A Trip to the Moon was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranked 84th. The film remains the best-known of the hundreds of films made by Méliès, and the moment in which the capsule lands in the Moon’s eye remains one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema. It is widely regarded as the earliest example of the science fiction film genre and, more generally, as one of the most influential films in cinema history.

 

Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921) 'Mask' c. 1897

 

Fernand Khnopff (Belgian, 1858-1921)
Mask
c. 1897
Gypsum, mounted
18.5 x 28 x 6.5cm
© bpk, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Elke Walford

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Installation photographs of the exhibition Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Damon & Colin (Maison Krieger). Erkerzimmer for the Hotel Gallia in Nice, 1894-1900

Damon & Colin (Maison Krieger). Erkerzimmer for the Hotel Gallia in Nice, 1894-1900 (detail)

 

Damon & Colin (Maison Krieger)
Erkerzimmer for the Hotel Gallia in Nice
1894-1900
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision' at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Installation photographs of the exhibition Art Nouveau. The Great Utopian Vision at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Peter Behrens (1868-1940) 'Salon grand from house Behrens' c. 1901

 

Peter Behrens (German, 1868-1940)
Salonflügel aus dem Haus Behrens | Salon grand from house Behrens, Darmstadt
c. 1901
Execution: J. P. Schiedmayer Pianofortefabrik, Stuttgart; Intarsienwerkstatt G. Wölfel & Kiessling
Palisander, mahagony, maple, cherry and walnut, burl birch, partly coloured red, lapis lazuli and mother of peral inlay
H. 99cm x B. 150cm x 192cm
Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Köln
© Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln

 

 

The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) would like to dare a quite new approach to the epoch of the Art Nouveau in its exhibition project Art Nouveau. The Great Utopia. In contrast to the period about a century ago, when Art Nouveau was le dernier cri, it can be seen today not just as a mere historical stylistic era, but can open up parallels to complex phenomena familiar to visitors from their own experience: scarcity of resources and issues of what materials to use, precarious working conditions and consumer behaviour, the trade-off between ecological and aesthetic considerations in manufacturing processes or the desire for stylishly elegant, prestigious interior furnishings. These are just a few of the aspects which emerge as central motives common to both the reform movement of the years around 1900 and for the decisions facing today’s consumers. The exhibition has therefore been chosen in order to bring out as clearly as possible in this new setting the roots of the ideas and motives which informed Art Nouveau. The new presentation still revolves, for instance, around the World Exhibition of 1900 as an international platform of modern design. Furthermore the flight away from European industrialisation and the march of technology to imagined places of yearning such as the Middle Ages or nature is highlighted.

A further aspect is the change in the way people experienced their bodies in the fashion of the rational dress reform movement and modern dance. The exhibition project will attempt to locate Art Nouveau in its historical context of ideas as a reform movement with all its manifold facets and extremes. Adopting a particular focus on the relationship between nature and technology, it illuminates the most varied disciplines, ranging far beyond the movement of arts and crafts and reaching as far as the history of medicine and the technology of film-making. The exhibits can be read as artistic positions that address technological innovation as well as theories from Karl Marx (1818-1883) to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). The ideal of superior craft in contrast to industrial articles collides with the commercial idea of competition and the marketing strategies at that time. Therefore the exhibition project manoeuvres at the intersection of utopia and capitalism. Visitors will be able to see paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, posters, books, tapestries, reform dresses, photo-graphs and films as well as scientific and historical medical apparatus and models.

Text from the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg website

 

Rudolf Dührkoop. 'Head with Halo' 1908

 

Rudolph Dührkoop (German, 1848-1918)
Kopf mit Heiligenschein | Head with Halo
1908
Platinotype
21 x 16cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Gabriel Charles Rossetti (1828-1882) 'Helen of Troy' 1863

 

Gabriel Charles Rossetti (English, 1828-1882)
Helena von Troja | Helen of Troy
1863
Oil on mahogany
32.8 x 27.7cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle
© bpk, Hamburger Kunsthalle
Photo: Elke Walford

 

Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907) 'Kneeling nude girl against blue curtain, Worpswede' 1906/07

 

Paula Modersohn-Becker (German, 1876-1907)
Kniender Mädchenakt vor blauem Vorhang | Kneeling Nude Girl
Worpswede, 1906/07
Oil on canvas
72 x 60cm
© Landesmuseum Oldenburg, H. R. Wacker – ARTOTHEK

 

Naked archer, member of a nudists' community in Zurich, Switzerland 1910

 

Unknown photographer
Ein Bogenschütze “Naturmenschenkolonie” bei Zürich | Archer “Naturmenschenkolonie” near Zurich
Naked archer, member of a nudists’ community in Zurich, Switzerland
1910
From Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Nr. 34, 1910
© Ullstein Bild

 

Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) 'Childhood' c. 1894

 

Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss, 1853-1918)
Die Kindheit | Childhood
c. 1894
Oil on canvas
50 x 31cm
© Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK

 

Elena Luksch-Makowsky (1878-1967) 'Adolescentia' 1903

 

Elena Luksch-Makowsky (Russian, 1878-1967)
Adolescentia
1903
Oil on canvas
172 x 79cm
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien
© Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien

 

Atelier d'Ora. 'Red Hair' 1911

 

Atelier d’Ora (Dora Philippine Kallmus) (1881-1963)
Rotes Haar | Red Hair
1911
Gummidruck
38 x 28.2cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) 'Salon des Cent' Paris 1896

 

Alfons Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939)
Salon des Cent
Paris, 1896
Lithograph
63.5 x 46cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Alfons Mucha. 'Salon des Cent' Exhibition, Paris, 1897

 

Alfons Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939)
Salon des Cent
Paris, 1897
Lithograph
63.5 x 46cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Eugène Grasset. 'Exhibition poster for an exhibition at the Salon des Cent' 1894

 

Eugène Grasset (Swiss, 1845-1917)
Print: G. de Malherbe, Zinkätzung
Ausstellungsplakat für eine eigene Ausstellung im Salon des Cent | exhibition poster for his own exhibition at Salon des Cents
1894
Stencil
60 x 40cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Verm. Albert Londe (1858-1917) 'Hysterics' Nd

 

Verm. Albert Londe (French, 1858-1917)
Hysterischer Anfall (Bâillement hystérique) | Hysterics
Silver print
9 x 12cm
Bibliothèque de Toulouse
© Bibliothèque Municipale de Toulouse

 

 

Albert Londe (1858-1917) was an influential French photographer, medical researcher and chronophotographer. He is remembered for his work as a medical photographer at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, funded by the Parisian authorities, as well as being a pioneer in X-ray photography. During his two decades at the Salpêtrière, Albert Londe developed into arguably the most outstanding scientific photographer of his time.

In 1878 neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot hired Londe as a medical photographer at the Salpêtrière. In 1882 Londe devised a system to photograph the physical and muscular movements of patients (including individuals experiencing epileptic seizures). This he accomplished by using a camera with nine lenses that were triggered by electromagnetic energy, and with the use of a metronome he was able to sequentially time the release of the shutters, therefore taking photos onto glass plates in quick succession. A few years later Londe developed a camera with twelve lenses for photographing movement. In 1893 Londe published the first book on medical photography, titled La photographie médicale: Application aux sciences médicales et physiologiques. In 1898 he published Traité pratique de radiographie et de radioscope: technique et applications médicales.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) 'Vase with self-portrait' 1889

 

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
Vase mit Selbstbildnis | Vase with self-portrait
1889
Stoneware, engobe, copper and oxblood glaze
19.5 x 12cm
Designmuseum Danmark, Kopenhagen
Photo: Pernille Klemp

 

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) 'Scyphozoans' 1904

 

Ernst Haeckel (German, 1834-1919)
Discomedusae – Scheibenquallen | Scyphozoans
Table 8 from Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, Leipzig und Wien
1904
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Eugène Feuillâtre (1870-1916) Vase "La Mer" c. 1900

 

Eugène Feuillâtre (French, 1870-1916)
Vase “La Mer”
c. 1900
Cloisonné enamel, gilded copper
37.5cm
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
© Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris

 

 

The goldsmiths and jewellers of the second half of the nineteenth century constantly strove to perfect and develop the techniques of enamelling for artistic purposes. Eugène Feuillâtre, who headed the Lalique enamelling workshop before opening his own workshop in 1897, specialised in enamel on silver. The dilatation of the metal and its reactions with the colouring agents made this technique difficult. But it allowed Feuillâtre to obtain the blurred, milky, pearly tones that are so characteristic of his work. Feuillâtre’s use of colours illustrates his ability to choose materials to suit the effect he wanted. He is one of the craftsmen whose talent swept artistic enamelling to a veritable apotheosis about 1900.

 

Daum Frères (Manufacturer), 'vase formed like a pumpkin' Nancy, around 1909

 

Daum Frères (Hersteller | Manufacturer)
Vase in Kürbisform | Vase formed like a pumpkin
Nancy c. 1909
Cameo glass, mould blown, etched and cut
29.2 x 11.7cm
Düsseldorf, Museum Kunstpalast
© Museum Kunstpalast – Horst Kolberg – ARTOTHEK

 

Louis C. Tiffany. 'Pont Lily-lamp' New York, 1900, execution around 1910

 

Louis C. Tiffany (American, 1848-1933)
Pond Lily-Lampe | Pont Lily-lamp
New York, 1900, execution around 1910
Favrile glass, Bronze
57cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Albert Klein (1971-1926) 'Irisvase' 1900

 

Albert Klein (German, 1871-1926)
Irisvase
1900
Execution: Königliche Porzellanmanufaktur, Berlin
Porcelain with glaze and sculptural decoration
61.5cm
Bröhan-Museum
© Bröhan-Museum
Photo: Martin Adam, Berlin

 

William Morris. decoration fabric Strawberry Thief, London, 1883

 

William Morris (British, 1834-1896)
Decoration fabric Strawberry Thief
London, 1883
Execution: Morris & Co., Merton Abbey/Surrey, 1883
Cotton, indigo discharge print, block print, 3-coloured
518 x 98cm, Rapport 51 x 45cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

William Morris. decoration fabric Strawberry Thief, London, 1883 (detail)

 

William Morris (British, 1834-1896)
Decoration fabric Strawberry Thief (detail)
London, 1883
Execution: Morris & Co., Merton Abbey/Surrey, 1883
Cotton, indigo discharge print, block print, 3-coloured
518 x 98cm, Rapport 51 x 45cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

René Lalique (1860-1945) 'Hair comb' 1898-1899

 

René Lalique (French, 1860-1945)
Haarkamm | Hair comb
1898-1899
Horn, gold, enamel
15.5cm
Designmuseum Danmark, Kopenhagen
Photo: Pernille Klemp

 

Day dress of a suffragette sympathizer, England, 1905-09

 

Unknown maker
Tageskleid einer Suffragetten-Sympathisantin | Day dress of a sufragette sympathiser
England, 1905-09
Studio work or self-made, cotton, canvas lining, machine-made lace
L. 143cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo. Lady's dress Delphos, Venice, 1911–13

 

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (designer) (Spanish, 1871-1949)
Damenkleid Delphos | Lady’s dress Delphos
Venice, 1911-13
Label: Mariano Fortuny Venise
Pleated silk satin, silk cord, Murano glass beads
L. 148cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940) 'Chair' Milan 1902

 

Carlo Bugatti (Italian, 1856-1940)
Stuhl | Chair
Milan, 1902
Oak, parchment, brass
98 x 48 x 48cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

Karl Gräser (1849-1899) 'Chair in the style of his room furnishings on Monte Verita' Museum Casa Anatta, Monte Verita, Ascona, 1910

 

Karl Gräser (Austro-Hungarian, 1849-1899)
Sessel im Stil seiner Zimmereinrichtung auf dem Monte Verità | Chair in the style of his room furnishings on Monte Verità
Museum Casa Anatta, Monte Verità, Ascona, um Verità 1910
Unhandeled braches, wooden panel
84 x 66 x 60cm
Photo: Elena Mastrandrea
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

 

In the nineteenth century, Europe is shaken by the arrival of industrialisation which upsets the social organisation. This crisis is particularly felt in Germany where signs of rejection of the industrial world appear as early as 1870. Thus, in response to the urbanisation generated by a new organisation of work, Naturism appears. Attempting to flee the pollution of the cities, to create communities and “garden city” to live in harmony with nature. Those who share this view soon gather around the movement of Reform of the life (Lebensreform, 1892). The movement attracts followers of vegetarianism, naturism, spiritism, natural medicines, the Hygienism, the Theosophical Society, as well as artists.

In 1889, Franz Hartmann, German astrologer and Alfredo Pioda, a local man into progressive politics, both loving theosophical theories under strong Hindu influence, launched the idea of ​​a “secular monastery” bringing together individuals “regardless of race, creed, sex, caste or colour. ” But nothing came of it. Eleven years later, he resurfaced with seven young men from good families, born in Germany, Holland, Slovenia and Montenegro, who landed in Ascona (Switzerland), attracted by the beauty of the place, its climate and possible telluric forces which the place would wear. The clan consists of Henri Oedenkoven (son of wealthy industrialists Antwerp), Karl Gräser (former officer of the Imperial Army, founder of the peace group Ohne Zwang, Unconstrained), his brother, the painter Gustav Gräser, Ida Hoffman (a feminist intellectual) Jeny and her sister, Lotte Hattemer (a beautiful young girl with anarchist ideas, breaking with a father who nonetheless supports herself needs) and Ferdinand Brune.

Spiritualist sects, pharmacists, nudists, philosophical circles, feminist movements, pacifists, socialists, libertarians, gurus, Theosophists, come together to form a nebula of more or less related interest, a band that will unite in a place that combines lifestyle and utopian effervescence. The hill is named Monte Verità, the Mountain of the truth. The group advocated free love, equality between men and women, they gardening scantily clad (or bare), alcohol was banned, meals consist of raw vegetables and fruits. As often, the ideal was overtaken by reality: after several months of reciprocity disagreement appears, especially between Henry Oedenkoven, who plans to open a place of cure, and the brothers Gräser. They who dedicate themselves to self-sufficiency and barter reject this conversion to money. Monte Verita knowns immediately two trends: the bourgeois dream paradise enjoying the modern comfort (water, electricity) and potentially profitable; and aspiration of returning to a liberated state of nature.

“Karl Gräser,” text translated from the La Maud La Maud website January 23, 2014 [Online] Cited 30/01/2016

 

Unknown photographer. 'Monte Verita' c. 1900

 

Unknown photographer
Monte Verita
c. 1900

 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 'Chair for the Argyle Tea Room' Glasgow 1897

 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Scottish, 1868-1928)
Stuhl für den Argyle Tea Room | Chair for the Argyle Tea Room
Glasgow, 1897
Oak, stained
81 cm x 60 cm x 45cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
© Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

 

 

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Steintorplatz, 20099 Hamburg

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
Thursday 10 am – 9 pm
Closed Mondays

Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg website

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26
Jan
09

Exhibition: ‘TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945’ at George Eastman House, New York

Exhibition dates: 7th February 2009 – 31st May 2009

 

George Davison (English, 1854-1930) 'The Onion Field' 1889

 

George Davison (English, 1854-1930)
The Onion Field
1889

 

 

George Davison (19 September 1854 – 26 December 1930) was an English photographer, a proponent of impressionistic photography, a co-founder of the Linked Ring Brotherhood of British artists and a managing director of Kodak UK. He was also a millionaire, thanks to an early investment in Eastman Kodak.

 

 

Pictorialism was simultaneously a movement, a philosophy, an aesthetic, and a style, resulting in some of the most spectacular photographs in the history of the medium. This exhibition shows the rise of Pictorialism in the late 19th century from a desire to elevate photography to an art form equal to painting, drawing, and watercolour, and extends the historical period generally associated with it by including its influential precursors, its persistent practitioners, and its seminal effect on photographic Modernism.

With 130 masterworks from such well-known photographers as Alvin Langdon Coburn, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Demachy, Frederick Evans, and F. Holland Day, this remarkable exhibition will illustrate the Pictorialism movement’s progression from its early influences to its lasting impact on photography and art.

Text from the George Eastman House website

.
Many thankx to George Eastman House for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

 

In this video, Phillips Collection curator Elsa Smithgall introduces special exhibition TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945, on view at The Phillips Collection Oct. 9, 2010 through Jan. 9, 2011.

 

Julia Margaret Cameron (British born India, 1815-1879) 'Prayer' 1866

 

Julia Margaret Cameron (British born India, 1815-1879)
Prayer
1866

 

Peter Henry Emerson (British, 1856-1936) 'Polling the Marsh Hay' c. 1885

 

Peter Henry Emerson (British, 1856-1936)
Polling the Marsh Hay
c. 1885

 

Henry Peach Robinson (English, 1830-1901) 'Carolling' 1890

 

Henry Peach Robinson (English, 1830-1901)
Carolling
1890

 

Fredrick Holland Day (American, 1864-1933) "I Thirst" 1898

 

Fredrick Holland Day (American, 1864-1933)
“I Thirst”
1898

 

F. Holland Day. 'Ebony and Ivory' 1899

 

Frederick Holland Day (American, 1864-1933)
Ebony and Ivory
1899
Photogravure

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Spring Showers' 1901

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Spring Showers
1901

 

Alfred Steiglitz. 'Snapshot – In the New York Central Yards' Negative 1903; Printed 1910

 

Alfred Steiglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Snapshot – In the New York Central Yards
Negative 1903; Printed 1910
Photogravure

 

 

This photograph of a train departing from Grand Central Terminal was probably made from the 48th Street foot bridge, which crossed over the railroad yard.

 

Edward Steichen (American, 1879-1973) 'The Pond - Moonlight' Negative 1904; print 1906

 

Edward Steichen (American, 1879-1973)
The Pond – Moonlight
Negative 1904; print 1906
Photogravure

 

 

The Pond – Moonlight (also exhibited as The Pond – Moonrise) is a pictorialist photograph by Edward Steichen. The photograph was made in 1904 in Mamaroneck, New York, near the home of his friend art critic Charles Caffin. The photograph features a forest across a pond, with part of the moon appearing over the horizon in a gap in the trees. The Pond – Moonlight is an early photograph created by manually applying light-sensitive gums, giving the final print more than one colour. Only three known versions of The Pond – Moonlight are still in existence and, as a result of the hand-layering of the gums, each is unique.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Edward Steichen. 'Grand Prix at Longchamp, After the Races' 1907

 

Edward Steichen (American, 1879-1973)
Grand Prix at Longchamp, After the Races
1907
Photogravure

 

 

About the Exhibition

Photographic Pictorialism, an international movement, a philosophy, and a style, developed toward the end of the 19th century. The introduction of the dry-plate process, in the late 1870s, and of the Kodak camera, in 1888, made taking photographs relatively easy, and photography became widely practiced. Pictorialist photographers set themselves apart from the ranks of new hobbyist photographers by demonstrating that photography was capable of far more than literal description of a subject. Through the efforts of Pictorialist organisations, publications, and exhibitions, photography came to be recognised as an art form, and the idea of the print as a carefully hand-crafted, unique object equal to a painting gained acceptance.

The forerunners of Pictorialism were early photographers like Henry Peach Robinson and Julia Margaret Cameron. Robinson found inspiration in genre painting; Cameron’s fuzzy portraits and allegories were inspired by literature. Like Robinson and Cameron, the Pictorialists made photographs that were more like paintings and drawings than the work of commercial portraitists or hobbyists. Pictorialist images were heavily dependent on the craft of nuanced printing. Some photographers, like Frederick H. Evans, a master of the platinum print, presented their work like drawings or watercolours, decorating their mounts with ruled borders filled with watercolour wash, or printing on textured watercolour paper, like Austrian photographer Heinrich Kühn. Kühn achieved painterly effects by using an artist’s brush to manipulate watercolour pigment, instead of silver or platinum, mixed with light-sensitised gum arabic.

The idea that the primary purpose of photography was personal expression lay behind Pictorialism’s “Secessionist” movement. Alfred Stieglitz’s “Photo-Secession” was the best-known secessionist group. Stieglitz and his magazine, Camera Work, with its high-quality photogravure illustrations, advocated for the acceptance of photography as a fine art.

Early in the 20th century, Pictorialism began losing ground to modernism: in 1911, Camera Work published drawings by Rodin and Picasso, and its final issue, in 1917, featured Paul Strand’s modernist photographs. Nevertheless, Pictorialism lived on. A second wave of Pictorialists included Clarence H. White, whose students included such photographers as Margaret Bourke-White, Paul Outerbridge, and Dorothy Lange. White’s colleague, Paul Anderson, continued the pictorial tradition until his death in 1956. Five prints of his Vine in Sunlight, 1944, display five different printing techniques, demonstrating how each process subtly shapes the viewer’s response to the image.

Organised by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, and Vancouver Art Gallery.

Text from the Phillips Collection website Nd [Online] Cited 10/06/2022

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966) 'Fifth Avenue from the St. Regis' c. 1905

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966)
Fifth Avenue from the St. Regis
c. 1905
Gum bichromate and platinotype on paper

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn. 'Wapping' 1904

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American, 1882-1966)
Wapping
1904

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966) 'St. Paul's and Other Spires' 1908

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966)
St. Paul’s and Other Spires
1908

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966) 'The Tunnel Builders' 1908

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn (American-born British, 1882-1966)
The Tunnel Builders
1908

 

Eva Watson Schutze (American, 1867-1935) 'Woman with Lilly' 1905

 

Eva Watson Schutze (American, 1867-1935)
Woman with Lilly
1905

 

 

Eva Watson-Schütze (American, 1867-1935)

Eva Watson-Schütze (1867-1935) was an American photographer and painter who was one of the founding members of the Photo-Secession. …

Around the 1890s Watson began to develop a passion for photography, and soon she decided to make it her career. Between 1894 and 1896 she shared a photographic studio with Amelia Van Buren another Academy alumna in Philadelphia, and the following year she opened her own portrait studio. She quickly became known for her Pictorialist style, and soon her studio was known as a gathering place for photographers who championed this aesthetic vision.

In 1897 she wrote to photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston about her belief in women’s future in photography: “There will be a new era, and women will fly into photography.”

In 1898 six of her photographs were chosen to be exhibited at the first Philadelphia Photographic Salon, where she exhibited under the name Eva Lawrence Watson. It was through this exhibition that she became acquainted with Alfred Stieglitz, who was one of the judges for the exhibit.

In 1899 she was elected as a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia. Photographer and critic Joseph Keiley praised the work she exhibited that year, saying she showed “delicate taste and artistic originality”.

The following year she was a member of the jury for the Philadelphia Photographic Salon. A sign of her stature as a photographer at that time may be seen by looking at the other members of the jury, who were Alfred Stieglitz, Gertrude Kasebier, Frank Eugene and Clarence H. White.

In 1900 Johnston asked her to submit work for a groundbreaking exhibition of American women photographers in Paris. Watson objected at first, saying “It has been one of my special hobbies – and one I have been very emphatic about, not to have my work represented as ‘women’s work’. I want [my work] judged by only one standard irrespective of sex.” Johnston persisted, however, and Watson had twelve prints – the largest number of any photographer – in the show that took place in 1901.

In 1901 she married Professor Martin Schütze, a German-born and -trained lawyer who had received his Ph.D. in German literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1899. He took a teaching position in Chicago, where the couple soon moved.

That same year she was elected a member of The Linked Ring. She found the ability to correspond with some of the most progressive photographers of the day very invigorating, and she began to look for similar connections in the U.S.

In 1902 she suggested the idea of forming an association of independent and like-minded photographers to Alfred Stieglitz. They corresponded several times about this idea, and by the end of the year she joined Stieglitz as one of the founding members of the famous Photo-Secession.

About 1903 Watson-Schütze began to spend summers in Woodstock at the Byrdcliffe Colony in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She and her husband later bought land nearby and built a home they called “Hohenwiesen” (High Meadows) where she would spend most of her summer and autumn months from about 1910 until about 1925.

In 1905 Joseph Keiley wrote a lengthy article about her in Camera Work saying she was “one of the staunchest and sincerest upholders of the pictorial movement in America.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Eva Watson Schutze (American, 1867-1935) 'Young girl seated on bench' c. 1910

 

Eva Watson Schutze (American, 1867-1935)
Young girl seated on bench
c. 1910

 

Anne Brigman (American, 1869-1960) The 'Heart of the Storm' 1902

 

Anne Brigman (American, 1869-1960)
The Heart of the Storm
1902

 

Anne Brigman (American, 1869-1960) 'The Pine Sprite' 1911

 

Anne Brigman (American, 1869-1960)
The Pine Sprite
1911

 

Frederick Evans. 'York Minster: In Sure and Certain Hope' 1903

 

Frederick Evans (British, 1853-1943)
York Minster: In Sure and Certain Hope
1903
Photogravure

 

 

Frederick H. Evans (British, 1853-1943)

Frederick H. Evans (26 June 1853, London – 24 June 1943, London) was a British photographer, primarily of architectural subjects. He is best known for his images of English and French cathedrals. Evans began his career as a bookseller, but retired from that to become a full-time photographer in 1898, when he adopted the platinotype technique for his photography. Platinotype images, with extensive and subtle tonal range, non glossy-images, and better resistance to deterioration than other methods available at the time, suited Evans’ subject matter. Almost as soon as he began, however, the cost of platinum – and consequently, the cost of platinum paper for his images – began to rise. Because of this cost, and because he was reluctant to adopt alternate methodologies, by 1915 Evans retired from photography altogether.

Evans’ ideal of straightforward, “perfect” photographic rendering – unretouched or modified in any way – as an ideal was well-suited to the architectural foci of his work: the ancient, historic, ornate and often quite large cathedrals, cloisters and other buildings of the English and French countryside. This perfectionism, along with his tendency to exhibit and write about his work frequently, earned for him international respect and much imitation. He ultimately became regarded as perhaps the finest architectural photographer of his, or any, era – though some professionals privately felt that the Evans’ philosophy favouring extremely literal images was restrictive of the creative expression rapidly becoming available within the growing technology of the photographic field.

Evans was also an able photographer of landscapes and portraits, and among the many notable friends and acquaintances he photographed was George Bernard Shaw, with whom he also often corresponded. Evans was a member of the Linked Ring photographic society.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Frederick Evans (British, 1853-1943) 'Kelmscott Manor: Attics' c. 1896

 

Frederick Evans (British, 1853-1943)
Kelmscott Manor: Attics
c. 1896

 

Getrude Käsebier (American, 1852-1934) 'Woman seated under a tree' c. 1910

 

Getrude Käsebier (American, 1852-1934)
Woman seated under a tree
c. 1910

 

 

The hauntingly beautiful works of the Pictorialist movement are among the most spectacular photographs ever created. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Pictorialist artists sought to elevate photography – until then seen largely as a scientific tool for documentation – to an art form equal to painting. Adopting a soft-focus approach and utilizing dramatic effects of light, richly coloured tones and bold technical experimentation, they opened up a new world of vision expression in photography. More than a hundred years later, their aesthetic remains highly influential.

Truth Beauty contains 121 stunning works by the form’s renowned artists, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Robert Demachy, Peter Henry Emerson, Gertrude Käsebier, Heinrich Kühn, Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz. Together, the collected works trace the evolution of Pictorialism over the three decades in which it predominated.

This is the only collection of Pictorialist photographs by artists from North America, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Japan and Australia in a single publication. Scholarly essays, and a selection of historic texts by Pictoralist artists, complete this rich overview of the first truly international art movement.

Text from the Amazon website Nd [Online] Cited 10/06/2022

 

Robert Demachy. 'Une Balleteuse' 1900

 

Robert Demachy (French, 1859-1936)
Une Balleteuse
1900
Gum bichromate print

 

 

Demachy was, with Émile Joachim Constant Puyo, the leader of the French Pictorial movement in France. His aesthetic sophistication and skill with the gum bichromate technique, which he revived in 1894 and pressed into the service of fine art photography, were internationally renowned. With the gum medium, he was able to achieve the appearance of a drawing or printmaking process-in this photograph, he has added marks characteristic of etching during intermediate stages of development-in order to advocate photography’s membership in the fine arts by revealing the intervention of the photographer’s hand in the printmaking stage of the photographic process. The result attested to Demachy’s mastery of his medium, but also proved his ability to unify a composition and select significant details from the myriad of facts available in his negatives. In this picture, Demachy has gently elided the background and erased the features of the left third of the image in order to emphasise the grace and delicacy of the ballet dancer that is its subject.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

John Kauffmann (Australian, 1864-1942) 'Waterlily, Nymphaea Alba' c. 1930

 

John Kauffmann (Australian, 1864-1942)
Waterlily, Nymphaea Alba
c. 1930
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Australia

 

 

John Kauffmann was born in South Australia in 1865 and initially trained as an architect. In 1887 he travelled to Europe and became well connected to London’s artistic set, including the young Frank Brangwyn RA. In London and later Vienna, Kauffmann painted and learnt to take and print photographs, exhibiting in various salons and working with a number of important studios. In Austria, he became an enthusiast of Pictorialist photography and pursued studies in photographic chemistry. He returned to Adelaide in 1897 and was championed as the pioneer of Pictorialism in Australia. By 1914, Kauffmann had moved to Melbourne and established his own studio in Collins Street. Kauffmann died in South Yarra, Melbourne in 1942.

Text from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

John Kauffmann (Australian, 1864-1942) 'The Silent Watcher' 1919

 

John Kauffmann (Australian, 1864-1942)
The Silent Watcher
Plate in in John Kauffmann, The Art of John Kauffmann
Melbourne: Alexander McCubbin, 1919 tipped-in plate (halftone)
National Gallery of Australia Research Library, Canberra

 

 

Pictorialism in Australia was established when photographic journals, such as the Australian Photographic Journal (APJ), launched in 1892, and the Australasian Photo-Review (APR), begun in 1894, appeared.1

In addition to providing technical advice the magazines covered the controversies in Britain and other centres over the new art photography. Articles on poetic picture making by British artists Henry Peach Robinson and Alfred Horsley Hinton, whose names were often cited by Australian Pictorialist photographers as major influences, were also included.

These magazines featured work by both professional and amateur photographers, and their editors took pride in the artistic quality of their reproductions; they also encouraged and supported the growth of new societies devoted to art photography.

The Photographic Society of New South Wales was duly established in Sydney in 1894, joining the older South Australian Photographic Society in Adelaide at the forefront of Pictorialism. The next decades saw a remarkable level of activity in the growing Pictorialist circles. …

In the years leading up to the war there was growing sentiment that Australian photographers were overly reliant on British models and had failed to advance the art of pictorial photography within an Australian context. A number of the more prominent Australian photographers and art commentators were also increasingly vocal about what they felt to be a decline in the quality of artistic practice despite the feverish activity of exhibitions and proliferation of camera clubs.

In 1916 a group of artists including Cazneaux, Cecil W. Bostock, a graphic artist who had recently set up a photography studio in Sydney, and James Stening formed the Sydney Camera Circle. They signed a pledge “to advance pictorial photography and to show our own Australia in terms of sunlight rather than those of greyness and dismal shadows.”10 …

Although it had largely waned in Europe and the United States by then, Pictorialism continued in Australia during the 1920s and 1930s. There was a new generation of artists showing their work alongside that of their more established colleagues in two large Pictorialist salons held in Sydney in 1924 and 1926 accompanied by catalogues called Cameragraphs (designed by Bostock). Perhaps because of the Depression, these salons did not continue.

Beginning in the 1920s Pictorialist and Modernist photography existed side by side with the professional photographers bridging both movements. Pictorialist photography would remain popular, particularly with the amateur members of the camera clubs up to the 1940s, ironically becoming increasingly conservative and backward looking in subject and execution.

However, the ascendancy of Modernist photography was now evident, even in the work of Cazneaux and Bostock, who would become active in the 1920s in commercial spheres.

Extract from Gael Newton. “Australian Pictorial Photography – Seeing The Light,” in TruthBeauty – Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945. Essay originally published in the 2008 catalogue for the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition [Online] Cited 12/06/2022

 

Cecil W. Bostock (Australian born England, 1884-1939) 'Nude Study' c. 1916

Cecil W. Bostock (Australian born England, 1884-1939)
Nude Study
c. 1916
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Cecil Westmoreland Bostock (1884-1939) was born in England. He emigrated to New South Wales, Australia, with his parents in 1888. His father, George Bostock, was a bookbinder who died a few years later in 1892.

Bostock had an important influence on the development of photography in Australia, initiating a response to the strong sunlight. He presided over the transition from Pictorialism to Modernism and was a mentor to several famous Australian photographers: notably Harold Cazneaux and Max Dupain.

 

The Sydney Camera Circle

On 28 November 1916, a group of six photographers met at Bostock’s ‘Little Studio in Phillip Street’ to form the Pictorialist “Sydney Camera Circle”. This initially included Cecil Bostock, James Stening, W. S. White, Malcolm McKinnon and James Paton, and they were later joined by Henri Mallard.

A “manifesto” was drawn up by Cecil and signed by all six attendees who pledged “to work and to advance pictorial photography and to show our own Australia in terms of sunlight rather than those of greyness and dismal shadows”. This established what was known as the ‘sunshine school’ of photography. The style of Pictorialism practiced by Australians was “concerned with the play of light, sunshine and shadow, and the attention to nature and the landscape, and had an affinity with the Heidelberg School of painters.”

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Jack Cato (Australian, 1889-1971) 'Snorky' 1924

 

Jack Cato (Australian, 1889-1971)
Snorky
1924
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Jack Cato (1889-1971) was born in Tasmania and was introduced to photography by his cousin, renowned photographer John Watt Beattie. Cato trained and worked as a photographer in Launceston from 1901 to 1906 before establishing his own business in Hobart. He travelled to Europe in 1908 and worked in London as a theatre and society photographer from 1909 to 1914. He then spent six years photographing in South Africa. Cato received a fellowship at the Royal Photographic Society in 1917. He returned to Tasmania in 1920 and re-opened his portrait studio in Hobart. He moved his studio to Melbourne in 1927 and became known as a leader in Australian photography. Cato is particularly known for his pictorial portraits.

Text from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

Olive Cotton (Australian, 1911-2003) 'Grass at sundown' 1939

 

Olive Cotton (Australian, 1911-2003)
Grass at Sundown
1939
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Olive Cotton (Australia 1911-2003) worked at Max Dupain’s Bond Street studio from 1934 to 1940. During this time she produced some of her best-known photographs. Her subjects ranged from nature to the built environment as well as still-life and portraiture. Cotton’s often geometric compositions reflect the modernist photographic styles of the time and illustrate her interest in light and shadow. She was included in the London Salon of Photography in 1935 and 1937, and in 1942 returned to the Bond Street studio as manager. She stayed until 1945 before moving to Koorawatha in country New South Wales where she raised her family. From 1964 to 1980, Cotton ran a small photographic studio in Cowra, New South Wales.

Text from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

John B. Eaton (Australian born England, 1881-1966) 'Wet Day in Melbourne' 1920

 

John B. Eaton (Australian born England, 1881-1966)
Wet Day in Melbourne
1920
Gelatin silver print

 

 

John Eaton (b. 1881 England, arrived 1888 Australia, d. 1966) is the most prolific Pictorialist photographer to be based in Melbourne during the early twentieth century. He worked in his father’s picture framing business from a young age and expanded the family business to include fine art prints as his amateur interest in photography developed. He began exhibiting his work in 1917 and was frequently commended for his contributions to international photography exhibitions throughout his life. Eaton is most well-known for his ‘portraits’ of gum trees and his appreciation of the bucolic Victorian countryside.

Text from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

John Bertram Eaton was born in England and migrated to Australia with his family eight years later. His father ran a small gallery and framing shop in Melbourne, where Eaton began work. In the early 1920s his photographs were included in local and international exhibitions and in 1921 he joined the Victorian Pictorial Workers Society. Four years later he held a solo exhibition of 124 photographs, nearly all of them landscapes. At this time Cazneaux called him ‘a fairly new man amongst the Pictorialists of today’.1 He became a foundation member of the Melbourne Camera Club and remained a prolific exhibitor into the late 1940s.

Jack Cato called Eaton ‘the Poet of the Australian landscape’.2 Among his contemporaries he was considered one of the most gifted interpreters of the landscape. When this photograph was exhibited at the Victorian Salon in 1936, the reviewer claimed that it already was a ‘picture too well known to need description’.3 Eaton’s reputation as an interpreter of the Australian landscape extended overseas, with one English reviewer noting, ‘when it comes to Australian landscape, we in England regard John B Eaton as its interpreter’.4 Like the painter Elioth Gruner, Eaton frequently depicts wide, expansive landscapes, denuded of trees, with low receding hills in the distance. He was very skilled at rendering atmosphere and it was probably his aerial, rather than linear, perspective – that sense of distance given by atmosphere which seems to veil and lighten certain parts of the landscape – which appealed so strongly to his admirers here and overseas.

1. Cazneaux, H. 1925, ‘Review of the pictures’, in Harrington’s Photographic Journal, 1 Apr p. 20
2. Cato, J. 1955, The story of the camera in Australia, Georgian House, Melbourne p. 156
3. Baillot, L. A. 1936, ‘The sixth international exhibition of the Victorian Salon of Photography’, in Australasian Photo-Review, 1 May p. 226
4. Dudley, Johnston J. 1936, ‘London news and doings’, in Australasian Photo-Review, 2 Nov p 541

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007 [Online] Cited 11/06/2022

 

Harold Cazneaux (Australian born New Zealand, 1878-1953) 'Slag Dump, Newcastle (NSW)' 1934

 

Harold Cazneaux (Australian born New Zealand, 1878-1953)
Slag Dump, Newcastle (NSW)
1934
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Harold Cazneaux (b. New Zealand 1878; a. Australia 1889; d. 1953) was a key figure of the Pictorialist movement in Australia. His career began in photographic studios, first in Adelaide, then Sydney. In Sydney, Cazneaux exhibited in local photographic competitions and held his first solo exhibition in 1909. His photographs, which were mostly portraits, city views and landscapes, show his interest in natural light and reflect his belief that photography should be used as a form of artistic expression. He was a founding member of the Sydney Camera Circle and through his photography, writing and teaching made a significant contribution to Australian photography in the early twentieth century.

Text from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

Harold Cazneaux (Australian born New Zealand, 1878-1953) 'The Orphan Sisters' c. 1906

 

Harold Cazneaux (Australian born New Zealand, 1878-1953)
The Orphan Sisters
c. 1906
Gelatin silver print

 

May Moore (New Zealand, 1881-1931) and Mina Moore (New Zealand, 1882-1957) 'Portrait of an Actress ("Lily" Brayton)' c. 1916

 

May Moore (New Zealand, 1881-1931) and Mina Moore (New Zealand, 1882-1957)
Portrait of an Actress (“Lily” Brayton)
c. 1916
Gelatin silver print
19.9 x 15.2cm
National Gallery of Australia
Purchased 1989

 

 

May and Mina Moore were New Zealand-born photographers who made careers as professional photographers, first in Wellington, New Zealand, and later in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. They are known for their Rembrandt-style portrait photography, and their subjects included famous artists, musicians, and writers of the era. …

 

In Australia

After only a few years, the sisters moved their business to Australia, running separate studios in Sydney (1910-1928) and Melbourne (1913-1918). May in Sydney continued to focus on studio portraits, while Mina in Melbourne moved into theatrical photography and portraits of interview subjects. Nonetheless, they continued to often cosign the work produced by their respective studios. Their photographs were frequently published in magazines such as Home and Triad.

Their styles were very consistent, and they used dramatic lighting to get the effect of making the subject’s face the centre of attention.

 

May in Sydney

In 1910, May took a holiday trip to Australia that resulted in her opening a new studio in Sydney. One of May’s notable images from the Sydney period was a portrait of cartoonist Livingston Hopkins.

May began writing articles for the Austral-Briton in 1916. In articles like “Photography for Women”, she encouraged more women to take up the medium. Her advocacy extended to her own business, where she mostly employed women. One exception to this rule was her husband, Henry Hammon Wilkes, a dentist whom she married on 13 July 1915 and who gave up his dental practice to help his wife with her photography business.

May was a member of the Lyceum Club, the Musical Association of New South Wales, the Society of Women Painters (Sydney), and the Professional Photographers’ Association of Australia.

Around 1928, May was forced into retirement by illness and turned her creative energies to painting landscapes. She died of cancer in her Pittwater home on 10 June 1931; her remains are at the Manly Cemetery. Six months after her death the Lyceum Club mounted a memorial exhibition of her work.

 

Mina in Melbourne

In 1913, Mina joined May in Australia, setting up shop in the Auditorium Building on Collins Street in downtown Melbourne and specialising in theatrical photography. Mina also formed an alliance with a freelance journalist, agreeing to photograph whomever the journalist planned to interview. These images were typically taken during the interview itself, affording a better opportunity to capture a subject’s natural expressions.

Mina married William Alexander Tainsh on 20 December 1916. When their daughter was born in 1918, Mina retired from professional photography. Her Auditorium Building studio was taken over by photographer Ruth Hollick. She came out of retirement briefly in 1927, when Shell commissioned her to do a series of portraits. At that point she was working out of a home darkroom and caring for an expanded family, so after the Shell series she decided against restarting her photography business.

Mina died in Croydon, Victoria on 30 January 1957. Her remains were cremated.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Elizabeth “Lily” Brayton (23 June 1876 – 30 April 1953) was an English actress and singer, known for her performances in Shakespeare plays and for her nearly 2,000 performances in the First World War hit musical Chu Chin Chow.

 

Mina and May Moore’s Actress Elizabeth ‘Lily’ Brayton [Mrs Oscar Asche]

Sisters Annie May (May) and Minnie Louise (Mina) Moore ran photographic studios, first in Wellington and then in Sydney and Melbourne. Their work was most often jointly stamped ‘May and Mina Moore’ and was remarkably consistent. They portrayed their subjects in head and shoulder shots, focusing attention exclusively on the face through the use of dramatic lighting and dark backgrounds.

From the 1880s until well after the turn of the century, women in photography were more commonly employed as retouchers and hand-colourists. The number of women running photographic studios, however, increased noticeably around 1910. This was an era in which the graceful and distant Edwardian ‘ladies’ shown in so many paintings of the late 19th and early 20th century were being replaced by the jazz age flappers and mass media celebrities. The Moore sisters were themselves typical ‘modern women’ of the 1910s-1930s in seeking their independence and social mobility through new types of careers in photography. They both mixed in artistic circles and May, in particular, was interested in the theatre. Their success surprised the critics even as late as the 1930s, when the Australian Worker in 1931 stated about May: ‘practically every artist, musician, critic, journalist, story-writer and poet of local celebrity was at some time or other a subject for her camera.’1

It is not clear which sister made this striking close-up of a stylish young woman (who may have been an actress or entertainer as the image was registered for copyright). She is shown in the recognisable Moore style but with particular verve as she stares straight into the camera, head slightly lowered in the femme fatale guise made popular in celebrity portraits and stills for the silent movies. Through the mass circulation of celebrity images everyone could have their favourite star for their wall.

Anne O’Hehir

  1. The Australian Worker, 24 June 1931, p. 1.

 

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002

 

 

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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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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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