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Details about  ALFRED STIEGLITZ PHOTOGRAPH Collotype Photogravure "CAR-HORSES New York 1892"

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ALFRED STIEGLITZ PHOTOGRAPH Collotype Photogravure "CAR-HORSES New York 1892"
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Item condition:
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18 Apr, 2013 02:50:24 BST
Winning bid:
US $74.50
Approximately £47.71(including postage)
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US $3.95 (approx. £2.53) Standard Delivery | See details
Item location:
Warrenton, Virginia, United States


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Item specifics

Original/Reprint: Original Print Color: Black & White
Listed By: Dealer or Reseller Framing: Unframed
Date of Creation: Pre-1950 Region of Origin: US
Photo Type: COLLOTYPE Size Type/ Largest Dimension: Medium (Up to 10'')
Subject: Architecture, Cityscape





by Alfred Stieglitz


A lifetime-printed collotype, circa 1938; published by Twice A Year, a semi-annual journal sponsored by Stieglitz's An American Place Gallery.

From the first edition of the first volume of the journal Twice A Year (thus, the first printing).

Sheet size measures 9" x 6", image about 4 x 5".

In excellent condition with tipped-in sheet remains to one edge.

This is a rare example of a Stieglitz collotype printed during his life - one of only four known images produced under his supervision by the collotype process. Much scarcer than his better known, though similar, photogravure prints (for which these are often confused.) Published by his last gallery, An American Place, through the last publishing venture he was associated with, "Twice A Year."

In the final decades of his life, Stieglitz devoted his time chiefly to running his galleries (Anderson Galleries, 1921–25; The Intimate Gallery, 1925–29; An American Place, 1929–46), and he made photographs less and less frequently as his health and energy declined. When he did photograph, he often did so out of the window of his gallery. These final photographs, such as Looking Northwest from the Shelton, were impressive achievements that both synthesized the various stages of his photographic development and solidified his position as the most significant figure in American photography. These pictures, virtuoso compositions that emphasize the geometric forms of the city as seen from an upper floor of a modern skyscraper, are also exquisitely constructed and printed and serial in nature, again emphasizing the fragmented nature of contemporary life. Finally, this last series of his career implicitly described his own retreat from the hustle-and-bustle of New York life and embodied the contraction between photography's representative nature and its expressive potential, making them fitting codas in the oeuvre of one of photography's greatest advocates

The collotype process was rarely used by other photographers (perhaps the best example is Muybridge's "Animal Location") due to the delicate print surface which yields relatively few images, and thus collotypes in general are far less prevalent than the sturdier photogravure prints.

While not identified as collotypes in the first edition, the second edition has a laid-in slip which mentions the use of half-tone process to replace the "heliotypes" of the 1st edition. The term heliotype, though somewhat ambiguous, is often used to denote a collotype, and the process has been verified by the photo-conservation lab of a leading US museum. Also, the printer, Max Jaffe, is listed in several locations in the 1st edition, including the cover. Jaffe, working out of Vienna, was a leading collotype printer of his day (although better known for his lithographic-collotype work in fine-press books).


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(From The Centre for Fine Print Research Collotype Project)


A major element of the work of the CFPR is to reappraise old printing methods in the light of new technology. In its reappraisal of photomechanical reproductive methods, the Centre has been looking at Collotype and Photogravure, both late 19th early 20th century methods of reproducing photography in print without an underlying dot structure. The aesthetic qualities produced by these methods have never been surpassed. However these processes fell into disuse because of the difficulty of printing, the highly specialised skills required by the printer and the time needed by an artist/technician to make the complex multiple colour film separations.

The first commercial collotypes were produced in 1868 in Germany by Josef Albert and in 1869 in England by Ernst Edwards. Until the development of the half-tone screen it was the only photomechanical process, besides hand photogravure, capable of reproducing tone.

Collotype is the most accurate and beautiful method of photomechanical reproduction yet invented. It has the advantage that it can render continuous graduations of tone without the intervention of a screen. But the making and printing of collotype plates is skilled and expensive work and can easily go wrong. Variations in humidity are likely to upset the balance of moisture in the gelatin causing it to swell or shrink. The surface is too delicate to produce more than two thousand impressions. For these reasons, collotype has been used for luxury publications and, since World War II, has been largely abandoned for other commercial purposes. Collotype is a photographic process in which a film of gelatin provides the printing surface. The technique is dependent on the fact that light sensitized gelatin hardens in proportion to the amount of light to which it is exposed.

Collotype was first used in England in the 1870s by the Autotype Company10 and Ernest Edward's Heliotype Company.11 Production continued until the closure of the last collotype plant, the Cotswold Collotype Company, in 1985. Other significant British collotype printers were Waterlows of London, Ganymed Press, Chiswick Press, and Oxford University Press. Collotype was even more widely used in Germany and was also popular in Austria, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, USSR, Australia, Japan and the USA.

One of the oldest and most respected collotype production houses was the Jaffe company which was founded in Vienna in 1875. The company also set up a branch of their operation in New York in 1926 (Kirby, 1988, pp. 23,26). Neither of these companies still operate. However there are a small number of companies still producing collotypes including the Lichtdruck Kunst Leipzig and Lichtdruck Werkstatt Dresden.

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