Edmund Kesting “Gears with hand” Photogram / Solarization c.1929
EDMUND KESTING (1882-1970) Germany
Gears with hand c.1929
Photogram / Solarization
Signed: Edmund Kesting 3644-280 (in pencil)
Provenance: Private Collection New York; Gene Prakapas Gallery New York 1970’s
Photogram: H: 7 9/16” x W: 6 15/16”
Frame: H: 15 9/16” x W: 14 15/16”
During the 1920s, Kesting was at the center of the avant-garde movement in Germany, where he befriended Kurt Schwitters and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. He first trained as a painter at the Akademie der Kunst in Dresden from 1911 to 1916. In the early 1920s, after service in World War I, he turned to collage and photography. An exhibitor at Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm gallery (Berlin), which supported German expressionism and the Blue Rider group, Kesting also operated several private art schools. The last, Der Weg (The Way), was closed by the Nazis in 1933. Kesting’s interest in the photographic portrait began in 1930, and often resulted in bold experimentation (Photomontages, superimpositions and solarizations) that provided some of the strongest examples of German expressionist portraiture in photography. In contrast to the objective naturalism of August Sander, his work is informed by the “Sturm und Drang” of the period – the storm and stress of the political, economic, and social unrest in Germany. After the war in 1948, Kesting taught at the Kunsthochschule in Berlin-Weissensee. – (partially excerpted from James Borcoman, Magicians of Light, National Gallery of Canada, 1993)
Works by Edmund Kesting can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Solarization — is a phenomenon in photography in which the image recorded on a negative or on a photographic print is wholly or partially reversed in tone. Dark areas appear light or light areas appear dark. The term is synonymous with the Sabattier effect when referring to negatives, but is technically incorrect when used to refer to prints. In short, the mechanism is due to halogen ions released within the halide grain by exposure diffusing to the grain surface in amounts sufficient to destroy the latent image.
Edmund Kesting “Gears with hand” Photogram / Solarization c.1929
NATHAN LERNER (1913-1997) Chicago, USA
Dowels Light Box Study c.1937
Silver gelatin print
Signed on back
Illustrated: New Bauhaus, 50 Jahre: Bauhausnachfolge in Chicago (Berlin: Bauhaus-Archiv and Argon Verlag GmbH: 1987), p. 177
H: 18 5/8” x 22 ½” (framed)
Nathan Lerner’s long career was inextricably bound up in the history of visual culture in Chicago. Born in 1913 to immigrants from Ukraine, he began studying painting at the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of 16, taking up the camera to perfect his compositional skills. At 22 he began doing a kind of photojournalism, developing his well-known series on ”Maxwell Street,” an immigrant neighborhood hit hard by the Depression, and also photographing the southern Illinois mining area. In 1936 when the New Bauhaus was established in Chicago by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Lerner became one of its first scholarship students and turned increasingly to photographic experimentation. He began making semi-abstract, strongly Constructivist images involving luminous projections, solarization, photograms and other methods, and his interest in manipulating light led him to invent the first ”light box.” In 1939 he became the assistant of Gyorgy Kepes, head of the school’s light workshop; together, they wrote ”The Creative Use of Light” (1941). With Charles Niedringhaus in 1942 he developed a machine for forming plywood that was used in making most of the school’s furniture. After working as a civilian light expert for the Navy in New York during World War II, Lerner returned to the school, now called the Institute of Design, and was named education director after Moholy-Nagy’s death in 1946. He left in 1949, opening a design office that became nationally known for its furniture, building systems and glass and plastic containers (including bottles for Revlon and Neutrogena and the Honeybear honey container). In 1968 Lerner married Kiyoko Asia, a classical pianist from Japan, and over the next two decades made numerous trips to Japan, where he took his first color photographs, as well as Mexico. He had his first solo exhibition of photography in 1973 and thereafter exhibited regularly in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Japan. His work is included in photography and design collections around the world. (Roberta Smith, New York Times, February 15, 1997).
THOMAS F. BARROW (b. 1938) Kansas City, MO
Register Synthesis Photogram 1978
Gelatin silver print photogram with applied spray paint
Signed: Register Synthesis – 1978 – Thomas F. Barrow (in ink on back)
Exhibited: J.J. Brookings & Co. (San Jose, CA): Thomas F. Barrow: Inventories and Transformations, A Twenty Year Retrospective, Nov. 6 – Dec. 16, 1986. This exhibit occurred simultaneously with the following two museum shows: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Nov. 6, 1986 – Jan 11, 1987) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Feb. 26 – May 10, 1987).
Related photograph illustrated: Aperture: The New Vision: Forty Years of Photography, no. 87 (New York: Aperture Foundation, Inc., 1987), cover image.
Framed size: H: 19 5/8” x W: 23 7/16”
Thomas Barrow, American was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He studied at the Art Institute of Design in Chicago, Illinois and received his M.A. in 1967. At the George Eastman House, Barrow was the Assistant Director from 1971 to 1972 and served as the Associate Director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum from 1973 to 1976. Barrow started teaching photography in 1976 in the Art Department of the University of New Mexico and by 1985 he became the Acting Director of the University Art Museum. His Midwestern academic pedigree includes studying with Aaron Siskind at the Art Institute of Design in Chicago and with filmmaker Jack Ellis at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Barrow has received two NEA Photographers Fellowships in 1973 and 1978.
Barrow has produced a series of silver-gelatin photograms and then applied spray paint to the prints. These combine the feeling of a split-toned black and white print and at the same time appear as color-print photograms. He has produced a series of photograms entitled Disjunctive Forms. His images appear as surreal assemblages of various found and created objects superimposed with stencil text. Barrow works in the “academic” tradition—his pictures are deliberately and consistently experimental, highly intellectualized, scholarly in their concerns, and chock-full of references to the work of other artists.