Photography in New York
October 14, 2009 | The New York dealer of fine photographs Hans P. Kraus Jr. celebrates his gallery's twenty-fifth anniversary this year with a display of iconic works entitled Silver Anniversary: 25 Photographs, 1835 to 1914, opening today. Even readers who are less familiar with photography dealers will recall Kraus's impressive booth at the 2009 Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory, which re-created the 1905 interior of Alfred Stieglitz's legendary gallery 291 in New York with works by many of the same photographers who had exhibited there.
The new exhibition traces the history of photography from its birth in the mid-1830s to the early twentieth century and is divided into three sections. The first, "The Period of Discovery," covers roughly 1835 to 1845 and explores the earliest efforts at photography in both England and France, including William Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawing negative Tripod in the Cloisters of Lacock Abbey (c. 1835-1836) and the earliest known print of his The Ladder, which Kraus also highlighted at the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht this year. "The Golden Age," from the 1850s to the 1860s, looks at European photographers, many trained as artists, who used paper and glass negatives to explore both their home countries and distant lands. The final section, "The Pictorialist Movement," represents works by the group of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists—such as Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Alvin Langdon Coburn—who consciously broke with mainstream photography in both subject matter and technique.
The exhibition will be on view at Kraus's Park Avenue gallery through November 20. There is an accompanying catalogue by the photographic historians Larry J. Schaaf and Russell Lord.
Silver Anniversary: 25 Photographs, 1835 to 1914 · Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs, New York · October 14 to November 20 · www.sunpictures.com
Another noteworthy show of photographs currently on view in New York is a large display of photojournalistic images from the archive of the National Geographic Society, which may be seen at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea through October 17. The World in Black and White: Vintage Prints from the National Geographic Archive—150 works by a dozen photographers, many of which were never published in National Geographic magazine—explores the society's early years, when intrepid gentlemen explorers such as Hiram Bingham, who has been credited with discovering Machu Picchu, and Herbert G. Ponting, who traveled to the South Pole between 1910 and 1913, were documenting newly accessible landscapes and people.
This selling exhibition represents the first in a planned series of shows at the Steven Kasher Gallery of new limited-edition prints for collectors made from the negatives and digital files of the society, which has recently chosen the gallery to offer its holdings to the fine arts market for the first time.
The World in Black and White: Vintage Prints from the National Geographic Archive · Steven Kasher Gallery, New York · to October 17 · www.stevenkasher.com
Images from above: The Ladder by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), 1844. Salt print from a calotype negative, 6 ¾ by 7 ¼ inches; The Aeroplane by Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966), 1914. Gum-platinum print, 4 by 3 inches. Courtesy of Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs.