Photograms by 19th Century Women will be exhibited at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo at the Grand Palais from 12–15 November 2015. The show is inspired by an exhibition entitled Who's Afraid of Women Photographers? currently on view at the Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. Many of the images at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will be on public view for the first time.
Photograms, camera-less photographic images made by placing objects directly onto the surface of sensitized paper which was then exposed to sunlight, were some of the earliest photographic works ever produced. The examples on view were produced by both British and American women photographers, who were eager and early experimenters in this new medium.
The exhibition at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo will feature photograms by Anna Atkins, the first woman photographer, and Julia Margaret Cameron, recognized as one of the greatest portrait photographers. Their work is also currently on view at the Musée de l'Orangerie exhibition. Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will also show rarely seen examples by Bessie Parkes, Blanche Shelley, Amelia Bergner and Bertha Jaques. In addition there will be work by other British and French photographers, introducing newly discovered work by Hugh Owen.
Anna Atkins (1799-1871) learned photographic techniques directly from William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the photographic negative, and Sir John Herschel, the scientist who invented the cyanotype process. Admirers of her cyanotype photograms will have the rare opportunity to see her first volume of British Algae, comprising 70 images. Publication began in 1843, making this the first photographically illustrated book.
A highlight of the exhibition will be the only known photogram by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), My printing of ferns, made on albumen paper, probably before 1863. A number of Cameron's iconic portraits will also be on display, including A Beautiful Vision, circa 1875, a carbon print portrait of her niece Julia Duckworth, the mother of Virigina Woolf, and the dramatic Hypatia, an 1868 albumen print, with the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite model, Marie Spartali, as the sitter.
Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925) was an active British feminist. As a member of an accomplished intellectual and artistic family, she stumbled upon photography and took to the medium with great enthusiasm. The only known surviving result of her photographic ventures is a diminutive album from 1848 containing 18 photogenic drawing negatives of botanical specimens and lace.
Amelia Bergner (1853-1923) came from a prominent Philadelphia family. Her photograms of botanical specimens were made using a variety of processes, and her botanical compositions were carefully arranged and deliberately decorative. Two photograms of leaves, circa 1877, on chromate based printing-out paper can be seen in the exhibition.
A pensive portrait of Rodin, a platinum print from 1905, by Gertrude Kasebier (1852-1934), the American Photo-Secessionist, will be on display.
Works by 19th century masters such as William Henry Fox Talbot, Captain Linnaeus Tripe, Charles Nègre and Gustave Le Gray will also be on view. Twelve works by the British artist, Hugh Owen (1808-1897) will be exhibited for the first time. His albumen prints from paper negatives show an extraordinary range of tones evident in his street scenes, still lives and rural studies.