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HomeContentsThemes > Global trends in Pictorialism

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Through the 1890's there was a split between those interested in the technical side of photography and those interested in seeing pictorialist photography incorporated into the arts. The pressures within the existing photographic societies that organized the exhibitions were increasing to a point where those seeking change decided to go their own way and found new groups of like-minded people. the founding of the Linked Ring Brotherhood in Great Britain was the first but the high-calibre members it attracted from overseas (Hugo Henneberg, René Le Begue, Paul Martin, Alfred Stieglitz, Sarah Sears, Clarence H. White) demonstrated that change was long overdue. Within the next twenty years photographic clubs that supported the style of photography championed by the Linked Ring Brotherhood were founded around the world and the American influence of Fred Holland Day and the photographers of the Photo-Secession and Camera Work of Alfred Stieglitz would prove to be so important.
Photographic salons - International connections
Robert Demachy
[Photo-Club de Paris / 1895, Pl. II] 
There can be a tendency to see the groups that practiced pictorialism as distinct entities that worked alone in different countries but this is far from the case. The leading individuals knew each other and exhibited widely at different salons and had their works published in contemporary journals.
Taking the image above by Robert Demachy (1859-1936), founder of the Photo-Club de Paris with Constant Puyo, Hachette and De Singly in 1894, as an example it was published multiple times including:
  • FRANCE: "Deuxieme Exposition d'Art Photographique" of the Photo-Club of Paris (1895), Pl. II - Étude
  • GREAT BRITAIN: The Photographic Salon - 1895 (London) Pl.13 - Study of a Head
  • USA: Camera Notes, July, 1898 - Study in Red
Note that the name is different each time making the job of photo-historians rather more difficult.
The influence of the European salons upon the American and vice versa is complex and requires further research but many see Camera Work as the high point of pictorialist publishing but this is simplistic. Half of the 20 photogravures included in The Photographic Salon - 1895 (London) were later published in Camera Notes which was the magazine Alfred Stieglitz edited prior to Camera Work. In Germany Die Kunst in der Photographie edited by Franz Goerke, published from 1897 until 1908, was also influential and 23 of the photographers it included were later included in Camera Work.
When studying pictorialism it needs to be seen as a complex international network of personal relationships where the influences were certainly not in a single direction.
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  • France
    In 1894 The Photo-Club of Paris ('le Photo Club de Paris') with Constant Puyo, Robert Demachy, René Le Begue, Hachette and De Singly held its first exhibition in 1894 'Première exposition d'art photographique' but its roots went back to 1890. The club published the 'Bulletin du photo-club de Paris' with its Art Nouveau stylistic designs. Robert Demachy (1859-1937) in Paris popularized the pictorialist style through the 1890s.
  • Belgium
    Belgian Photographic Association ('l’Association belge de photographie') with its monthly 'Bulletin de l'Association Belge de Photographie' that ran from 1874 until 1935. By the end of the nineteenth century there were several outstanding pictorialists including Léonard Misonne (1870-1943), Gustave Marissiaux (1872-1929) and Maurice Ummels (?-1924).
  • Germany
    Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Amateur Photographie de Hambourg was a center of activity. German pictorialists include the Hofmeister Brothers Theodor (1863-1943) and Oskar (1871-1937) and their associates Eduard Christian Arning (1855-1936), George Einbeck (1871-1951), Heinrich Wilhelm Müller (1859-1933), Gustav E. B. Trinks (1871-1967) and Bernhard Troch (1867-after 1924).
  • Austria
    In 1896 'The Clover Leaf' ('Das Kleeblatt' or 'Trifolium') in Vienna with Heinrich Kühn (1866 - 1944), Hans Watzek (1848 - 1903) and Hugo Henneberg (1863 - 1918).
Heinrich Kühn (1866-1944)
Heinrich Kühn
Before the Storm 
Heinrich Kühn
Portrait - The Mirror 
[Camera Work, no. 33, pl. 08] 
Heinrich Kühn was a member of the ‘Das Kleebatt‘ (Cloverleaf) group in Vienna with Hans Watzek (1848 - 1903) and Hugo Henneberg (1863 - 1918). The moody 1897 landscape "Before the storm" was a gum platinum print but he also used Bromoil and oil pigments to provide the softer appearance of painting.
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  • USA
    The American influence was so significant in pictorialist photography that it is discussed on another page.
  • Japan
    The Aiyu Photography Club was founded in Nagota in 1912 and the Tenkyukai group was also influential. Yasuzo Nojima (1889-1964) started as a Pictorial photographer and a patron during this period and can be compared to his American contemporary Alfred Stieglitz. His photographic work made the transition between pictorialism and the New Photography that was embraced by Nakayama Iwata who founded the 'Ashiya Camera Club' in 1930.
In the rise of pictoralism certain technical processes, particularly bromoil prints, gum bichromate and pigment prints, allowed photographers to create single images that could be manipulated in the darkroom to appear similar to painting brush strokes. This became a global movement as international exhibitions and publications meant that their work was seen by travelers and their themes, scientific techniques and visual styles adopted.
  • Richard Polak (1870-1956) was a Dutch pictoralist who recreated sets similar to those of the great Dutch oil painting masters (Vermeer and Steen) and then photographed actors in them. He published them in a portfolio Photographs from Life in Old Dutch Costume.
  • Guido Rey (1861-1935) Italian pictorialist from Turin who, like Richard Polak, created living tableau in the style of the Dutch painters Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch. In 1902 his work was included in the "Esposizione Internazionale di Arte Decorativa e Moderna di Torino" and later it was published outside of Italy in prestigious magazines including Studio and Camera Work (Vol.24, 1908).
Italian pictorialism
Guido Rey
The Letter 
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  • Henry B. Goodwin (1878-1931) was born in Munich (Germany) as Heinrich Karl Hugo Goodwin Burgel but settled in Sweden in 1909 and anglicized his name at the start of the First World War. He became a noted pictorialist and his portraits, plant studies and sensual nudes are outstanding.
  • José Ortiz-Echagüe (1886-1982) Spanish pictorialist who used his own direct-carbon method of the Fresson process. His photographs of traditional Spain set in its religious rituals are among my favorite images.
  • Sergey Lobovikov (1870-1942) in Russia with his Bromoil and platinum prints of rural settings.
  • John Kauffman (1864-1942) was an Australian photographer who spent ten years in Europe (1887-1897) studying photography. His work was influenced by the The Linked Ring Brotherhood, which was founded in Great Britain in 1892, and this clearly showed in the photographs he made after his return to Adelaide in 1897.
  • Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) was a New Zealand-born pictorialist photographer who was active in Australia. There is a large collection of his photographs in the National Library of Australia.
Pictorialism in Australia and New Zealand
Harold Cazneaux
The Stock Route 
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As this page is revised I'm sure that I will include South American pictorialists and those who worked in Africa and Asia.
This is a stub for a theme that is under active development if you have any thoughts on what should be included please send them to so they can be incorporated. Many thanks.
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