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36 of 104

Heinrich Kühn

(Austrian, born Germany, 1866–1944)

Study in tonal values II (Mary Warner)

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Object Details

Artist

Heinrich Kühn

Date

1908

Medium

Gum bichromate over platinum print on tissue, mounted on paper

Dimensions

Image: 11 3/8 × 9 inches (28.9 × 22.9 cm)
Sheet: 13 3/4 × 9 3/4 inches (35 × 24.8 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Diann G. Mann, Class of 1966, and Thomas A. Mann, Class of 1964

Object
Number

2018.095.013

The gum bichromate process had existed for some fifty years when Pictorialist photographers—amateu(…)

The gum bichromate process had existed for some fifty years when Pictorialist photographers—amateurs dedicated to the practice of photography as a fine art, who shared notions drawn largely from Impressionist and Symbolist painting of what fine-art photography should be—made it their signature technique. The brushing of the sensitized gum arabic onto the paper, the pigments mixed into the emulsion, and the softening of the gum after washing all allowed for the kind of painterly work and effects that the Pictorialists valued. Heinrich Kühn was among the first to adopt the process, and his facility with it was extraordinary. By the time he made this print, of an image that invites the viewer to follow his presumptive lover into a forbidding interior space, he had been working with the gum bichromate technique for over ten years. It is as accomplished as anything he produced, yet the title suggests that Kühn was still exploring its aesthetic potential. (“Celebrating Reunion at the Johnson,” text by Kate Addleman-Frankel and presented at the Johnson Museum May 25-July 28, 2019)

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