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Plate Reference Identification for Photogravures published in Die Kunst in Der Photographie
[Die Kunst in der Photographie]
Photograph courtesy PhotoSeed.com
The following are some general notations regarding locations for typographic attribution and style on individual plates in Die Kunst in der Photographie (1897-1908). The original size of the large plate photogravures in this publication averages about 35 x 26 cm but there are always variances depending on the publisher of the work and available paper stock at the appropriate atelier at the time of printing. Most of the plates in Die Kunst in der Photographie were printed on white or off-white plate paper. There are also many superb examples of Chine-collé photogravures in the run of Die Kunst in der Photographie. 1897 features no less than 26 Chine-collé plates: perhaps the finest method of bringing out detail in the copper plates themselves. In later years, some of the photogravures were printed on hand-made laid paper with the Van Gelder Zonen watermark.
The following is a guide for identifying marks on Die Kunst in der Photographie photogravure plates (1897-1908)
1. The name of the publication Die Kunst in der Photographie and almost always the date is printed in the upper left hand corner of the photogravure impression.
2. The publisher of record for the photogravure is printed in the upper right hand corner of the photogravure impression. The order of publishers for Die Kunst in der Photographie is: 1897-1899: Julius Becker, Berlin; 1900: Martin Oldenbourg, Berlin; 1901-1908: Wilhelm Knapp, Halle a.S.
Note: The six Blechinger & Leykauf plates in 1897 carry the publisher imprint for Verlag v. W. Pauli's Nachf. (H. Jerosch) Berlin. Presumably, Julius Becker or Goerke himself had a prior business arrangement with this Berlin publisher at the inception of the publication. The imprint for Julius Becker begins to appear starting with photogravures in folio #2.
3. At lower left corner border of photogravure impression is printed the author attribution of the work. Sometimes a date for when the photograph was taken is also printed. A country or place of origin (city or town) also appears here at times. Another mark that appears is fec, an abbreviation for faciebat, which indicates works where the artist has prepared the plate and printed it.
4. At the lower right corner border of the photogravure impression is printed the atelier that was involved in the production of the photogravure itself. Here, the Krauss article states: "The company name, where given, is mostly preceded by "hel. & imp.", meaning "heliographed and printed (by)'. This refers to the two totally separate processes: the preparation (etching and other procedures) of the printing plates, and the printing itself. Ordinarily, in any high quality establishment, these were actually carried out under the supervision of a single management..." (274) For the record, Krauss also conducted a review of all of the 356 gravures in this publication (14 of the plates were missing and could not be located) and he determined that 28 had no atelier imprint at all. In regards to the business end of producing hand-pulled photogravures, it should be noted that there are many variables at work. The realities of economics are mentioned by Krauss, and he gives his suspicions for the absence of certain atelier imprints: "We can only speculate about the fact that Meisenbach, Riffarth made none of the plates in 1899 and 1900, and Buxenstein (George Buxenstein-Berlin) all of them. Perhaps one firm was played off against the other, in order to achive lower prices. Even the fact that 17 out of 20 photogravures in 1905 bear no imprint at all may have had economic reasons. Maybe establishments of less renown were tried, which would almost certainly be cheaper than the more famous ones." (277-278) The fact that photogravure production then and now is an extremely expensive process obviously did play a part in the history of this publication.
5. The title of the photograph is in capital letters and centered beneath the photogravure impression.