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Die Kunst in der Photographie
(1899)
 
  

Herausgegeben von Franz Goerke
Dritter Jahrgang: 1899

The third year 1899 of this publication featured 36 photogravures issued as six art folios. Unlike the previous first two years of this publication, in which individual art folios were devoted to photographers from a particular country or region, Die Kunst in der Photographie for the entire year of 1899 was dedicated to the work, which was international in scope, exhibited at that year‘s important artistic photographic exhibition put on in the showrooms of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin. Writing in the first paragraph, Richard Stettiner gives his opinion that this was the first academic exhibition of artistic photography held in this location and that it was not "coincidental". He states that the directors of the exhibition were concerned with the idea that the citizens of Berlin would be able to see examples of artistic photography and that the goal of this ambition was met.
 
The following is the first paragraph beginning on page 1 in German:
 
Wen diese Zeilen im Druck erscheinen, hat die Ausstellung für künstlerische Photographie, Berlin 1899, der dieser Band der,, Kunst in der Photographie,, gewidmet sein soll, ihre Thore geöffnet. Die erste,, akademische,, Ausstellung möchte ich sie nennen, denn der Ort, an dem sie stattfindet, die Ausstellungsräume der königlichen Kunstakademie, ist nicht ein zufälliger. Es war der Ehrgeiz der Leiter der Ausstellung, gerade hier dem Berliner Publikum die Werke der neuen photographischen Kunst vor Augen zu führen, und dass dieser Ehrgeiz zum Ziele gelangt ist, darin liegt eine gewisse Anerkennung Seitens der massgebenden Kreise, das Zugeständniss zum mindesten, dass es sich um ein interessantes Experiment handle. Um so anerkennungswerther ist dieses Zugeständniss, als wir nicht erwarten durften, dass in den betreffenden Berliner Kreisen eine genaue Kenntniss der grossartigen Leistungen photographischer Kunst, wie sie in den anderen deutschen und ausserdeutschen Städten auf den ausstellungen zu sehen waren, bekannt waren,, und so einige wenige vorgeführte Proben und das begeisterte Eintreten einiger weniger vertrauenswürdiger, der sogenannten grossen Kunst nicht fernstehender Persönlichkeiten als Grundlage für den günstigen Bescheid dienen musste. Die Künstler, denke ich, werden die Gastfreundschaft, die sie den Künstlerphotographen gewährt haben, nicht zu bereuen haben. Für die Ausstellung aber bedeutet ihr diesmaliges Heim einen grossen moralischen Vorerfolg, in ähnlicher Weise, wie in Hamburg s. Z. die Gewährung der Kunsthalle als Ausstellungslokal oder, in allerdings noch weit höherem Maasse, in verflossenem Jahr in München, die Veranstaltung einer Elite-Ausstellung durch die Secession.
 
In the article: Die Kunst in der Photographie, the German Camera Work: Part 2: Texts in Abstract (History of Photography: Volume II, Number 1, January-March 1987) the author Rolf H. Krauss presents a series of abstracts and summaries of the text articles issued with the run of this publication. The following is his summary from the article authored by Richard Stettiner which begins this work for 1899:
 
"The introductory text (pp. 1-8) deals with the exhibition of art photography in Berlin in 1899, which was opened at the time when the first installment of the year 1899 was distributed. That event is compared in particular with exhibitions in Hamburg and in Munich (the latter had been organized by the ‘Secession‘ a year earlier). Since 1894 the Hamburg exhibitions had been under the influence of Lichtwark (Alfred) and Juhl (Ernst), who regarded artistic photography as an amateur preoccupation, and as an outstanding aspect of dilettantism. "These exhibitions have as their main purpose the presentation of excellent works to Hamburg devotees of amateur photography, works which they may compare with their own achievements." The Munich exhibition of 1898 contrasted with the Hamburg exhibitions by presenting a new type of photographic salon. The decision by the board of the "secession", i.e., by artists such as Dill, Habermann, Stuck, Zügel and others, to organize annual exhibitions of art photography marked a new epoch for that genre. This had nothing to do with pedagogical objectives; the idea was to encourage artists to work with photography. Only the very best work was shown by invitation. The efforts in Berlin were again of a different nature. There two amateur societies with a total membership of over 600 photographers decided that anybody should be free to submit work. A panel of judges then made the selection. We are grateful to Berlin for thus enabling photographic artists from anywhere in Germany to display their works and talents." (Krauss: Page #10: Texts in Abstract)
 
Stettiner‘s text for the year 1899 continues until page 44, he subdivides the work into several chapter headings dealing with the artistic achievements and photographic work of the English School (beginning on page 9); the French school (Frankreich) begins on page 15; the "Association Belge de Photographie" (comprising 7 photographic societies or sections) in Belgium (Belgien) begins on page 23; and beginning on page 30 and concluding on page 44, (the chapter heading is for Vienna & Hamburg) (Wien Und Hamburg), Stettiner concerns himself with "a comprehensive survey of the contemporary state of art photography around the world." (page 10 in Texts in Abstract)
 
This exhibition showcases the 36 large plate photogravures that make up the year 1899 for this publication owned by Photoseed. Important early works by Annan, Baron De Meyer, Stieglitz, The Hoffmeister brothers, Misonne and a very early Pierre Dubreuil (before he embraced modernism) are just some of the gems for the year 1899.
 
David Spencer (February 2007) 
  

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