"Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now" at Paris Photo in November

Froissart_Lyon Flood.jpgParis - Iconic images by the earliest masters of photography—as well as contemporary artists who are reinterpreting the processes and subjects of the pioneers—will be exhibited by Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo at the Grand Palais from 8-11 November 2018. 

Spanning facets of the history of photography from 1839 to 2009, Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now, will feature the work of William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Louis-Antoine Froissart, Gustave Le Gray, Hugo van Werden, and contemporary artists Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Adam Fuss, among others. 

Louis-Antoine Froissart (1815-1860) was the official photographer for the city of Lyon, photographing scenes and events of municipal interest. In May 1856, Lyon was inundated by one of the worst floods in French history. Froissart recorded the devastation with eloquent exactitude and poetic beauty. His eerily serene landscape of the postdiluvian city, Lyon Flood, records the disaster without depicting the human suffering left in its wake. This fine, rare salt print was presented by the photographer as a gift to the Mayor of Lyon at the time of the flood and remained in the Mayor’s family. Froissart’s photographs of the catastrophe precede the more widely known photographs by Edouard Baldus who was sent to Lyon by the French government in June of 1856.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) sought to record, through the faces of her family and friends, the qualities of innocence, wisdom, piety, or passion ascribed to great biblical, historical, and legendary figures. In Greek mythology, Circe is a goddess of magic, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. Renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs, Circe is exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her father for killing her husband. Once there she lures sailors to the island, including the crew of Odysseus, transforming them into swine. For Circe, Cameron used a long exposure and shallow depth of field to give a slight sense of animation that merges the angelic looking Kate Keown with her mythic character, seemingly bringing her into the viewer's presence in the fine 1865 albumen print.

Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) trained as a painter in the studio of Paul Delaroche and exhibited in the Paris Salon. Le Gray’s unique vision is reflected in his seascapes, the work for which he is most celebrated. A striking ocean view in Normandy, Effet de soleil dans les nuages-Océan (Effect of the sun in the clouds over the Ocean), 1856-57, is one in a series of poetic and meditative seascapes that brought Le Gray international acclaim for their technical and artistic achievement. The albumen print demonstrates his mastery of the medium with a tour de force combination of clouds, sea, and sun and is on display alongside two enigmatic seascapes, from 1994 and 1997, by Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948).

In addition to his seascapes, Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields 119, part of his 2009 series will be on view. These dynamic camera-less photographs depict electrical charges, influenced in part by Fox Talbot’s research into static electricity. The images were made using a Van de Graaff 400,000 volt generator. The “lightning field” is formed by the resulting spark. If the charge is powerful enough it creates the capillary effect of electric light dramatically captured in this gelatin silver print from a photogram.

German industrialist and armaments manufacturer Alfred Krupp hired Hugo van Werden (1836-1911) as a trainee in his firm’s engineering workshop in 1854. Three years later, he was working as a draughtsman in the technical office. Early in 1861, van Werden was sent to Hanover to learn photography. Upon his return to Essen, he set up the Krupp works’ photography studio. As Alfred Krupp’s first full-time photographer and distant relation, van Werden’s family connection facilitated his access to the private grounds as he documented all aspects of Krupp’s operation, including the business plant, new technical developments and trials of materials. Van Werden’s 1877 albumen print Krupp firing range at Bredelar. Armor shooting trial is the first in a series of six photographs on view showing the progressive effects of cannon fire on the target’s armor plate. Van Werden’s strikingly proto-modernist photographs unite Krupp’s pioneering conception of photography’s role in advertising and entrepreneurship with his own artistic vision of the medium to show the complex interrelationships of steel—or more broadly, industry—and society.

Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo, Stand C17, at the Grand Palais, Paris, from 8-11 November 2018. The telephone number at the stand is +1 917-273-4609.

Image: Louis-Antoine Froissart (French, 1815-1860), Lyon Flood, 1856. Salt print from a collodion negative, 22.6 x 32.0 cm

 

 

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