The Art of the Photogravure
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July 13th, 2007

“The Beginnings of Photogravure in Nineteenth-Century France” by Malcolm Daniel


Roofs of Paris Louis Armand Hippolyte Fizeau, 1843

Malcolm Daniel, The Curator in charge of the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum and an expert in the early history of photogravure has generously agreed to allow to post his important essay, "The Beginnings of Photogravure in Nineteenth-Century France."

This essay is adapted from a paper first presented at a colloquium on photogravure at the Institute for Research in Art / Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa, March 22-24, 1995.  It was published in French translation in Graver la Lumière: L’héliogravure d’Alfred Stieglitz à nos jours ou la reconquête d’un instrument perdu (Vevey, Switzerland: Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex, Musée Jenisch, 2002). Hank Hine invited Malcolm to explore the topic at the colloquium in Tampa and Jon Goodman, a fellow participant in Tampa, suggested that he publish the paper as part of the Musée Jenisch exhibition catalogue.

 Download PDF article

July 12th, 2007

B&W Magazine: The Photogravures of Andrew Xenios

Xenios_04.jpgLet’s face it; photogravure needs all the good press it can get. That is why I am happy to have learned that in its April 2007 issue (B&W; Issue 50). Black and White magazine featured an interview with photographer and photogravure printer, Andrew Xenios.

Xenios who is American-born, lives in Merida, Mexico.  He was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and his work can be found in private collections as well as prestigious museum collections around the world.

Download Article (PDF) 

July 1st, 2007

Paul Strand Letter

Strand_01_20.jpgThis past week I had a telephone conversation with Jon Goodman.  We discussed many topics including techniques of conserving Chine-collé gravures, the production history of Steichen’s Early Years portfolio as well as the collective state of consciousness with regard to appreciation of the photogravure process.

Jon has been fighting an uphill battle from day one.  Unless one takes the time to study photogravures and the process, it is difficult to appreciate their significance.  Photography is an art that is closely tied to craftsmanship. In many cases, it is the combination of the content of an image and the craftsmanship employed in its printing that brings it to life.  The subtle qualities of a print have a potent influence on its impact. These qualities mostly operate on a sub-conscious level.  Many casual consumers of photography as well as some active collectors are not aware of the potent influence that print quality has on the effectiveness of the art. Thus a lack of appreciation of the fine qualities of photogravure combined with steady growth of computer generated pigment printing techniques is creating a challenging environment for those, like Jon, who make their living printing photogravures.

A function of this site is to promote photogravure so that workers like Jon and others will continue to be appreciated.  Any information I come across that can strengthen photogravure’s position in this rapidly expanding arena of fine art photography, I will try to post on this blog.

Below is a letter written by Paul Strand to James Craft in 1968.   Mr. Craft was writing his Doctoral Thesis on photogravure and was able to hear some of Strand’s opinions first hand.

I hope this letter serves as further evidence that many photogravures are not merely mechanical reproductions, but closely supervised original prints.

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