Silver Anniversary: 25 Photographs, 1835 to 1914 Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs celebrates the gallery’s 25th anniversary with a new exhibition tracing the history of photography from its birth in the mid 1830s to the early 20th century.
News-Antique.com - Aug 11,2009 - New York City – Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs celebrates the gallery’s 25th anniversary with a new exhibition tracing the history of photography from its birth in the mid 1830s to the early 20th century. Silver Anniversary: 25 Photographs, 1835 to 1914 will be on view from October 14 though November 20, 2009. The exhibition is a survey of rare, iconic works that defined photography both technically and aesthetically. The exhibition features work by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of paper negative photography, and some of the preeminent photographers of their periods including Anna Atkins, Hippolyte Bayard, Hill & Adamson, J. B. Greene, Roger Fenton, Julia Margaret Cameron, Charles Nègre, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Alvin Langdon Coburn. A fully illustrated catalogue by photographic historians Dr. Larry J. Schaaf and Russell Lord will be available.
Silver Anniversary is divided into three sections: The Period of Discovery (1835-1845), a fertile time during the Industrial Revolution when British and French inventors competed for primacy; The Golden Age (1850s-1860s), when European photographers, many trained as artists, used paper and glass negatives to explore their homes and distant lands; and The Pictorialist Movement (1885-1914), which represented a group of artist-photographers who consciously broke with mainstream photography.
The Period of Discovery
Silver Anniversary begins with the birth of photography in both England and France. A daguerreotype from 1843 by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey of a veiled woman standing in the brilliant Egyptian sun depicts an alluring presence. During a three-year journey through the Middle East and into Egypt, Girault de Prangey took more than 1,000 images and created “one of the most significant and extensive early bodies of photographic work,” notes Schaaf in the catalogue. This image is one of only a few within this vast archive that actually shows a human being.
William Henry Fox Talbot, the British inventor of photography on paper, made the photogenic drawing negative, Tripod in the Cloisters of Lacock Abbey, probably in 1835-36, making it one of photography’s earliest images. The subject is, in fact, thought to be a theodolite, an optical instrument owned by Talbot for surveying purposes, and probably used in during a renovation project that was completed by 1837. This negative was most likely produced before that date. As Schaaf writes in the catalogue, the negative “is an extraordinary record of early photographic experimentation taken within the very home of the inventor of photography.”
The finest known print of Talbot’s The Ladder, 1844, will also be on view. The Ladder is one of Talbot’s best-known photographs, and follows in the long Dutch tradition of picturesque genre scenes in which the depiction of a daily routine is elevated to a level of noble simplicity. The Ladder is the only image from The Pencil of Nature (the first photographically illustrated book) that includes people. Lengthy exposure times in the early days of photography almost prohibited the capture of people in action, but this picture represents one of the few early successes in staging figures.