The late German artist Karl Blossfeldt spent much of his career as a sculptor and teacher but broke artistic ground by photographing and isolating plant forms and achieving what was considered objective photography. Blossfeldt made an art historical impact with the release of his 1928 book of photographs, Art Forms in Nature
, and was thrust into the limelight as the forefather of the New Objectivity art movement of the 1930s: "The rigorous composition of Blossfeldt's photographs of plant details, like wrought iron shapes on a neutral ground--originally intended for use in his classes on plant modeling--struck his contemporaries as being exemplary for modern photography." Now, his photographic collages of plant forms (discovered in 1977) are shown in their entirety in Karl Blossfeldt: Working Collages
. These collages have stirred the curiosity of some in the field because they are so different from Blossfeldt's known work.
An insightful introduction by Swiss art historian Ulrike Meyer Stump explains the importance of the discovery of the collages as well as their possible influence and relationship to other conceptual artists. If you're interested in the beginnings of conceptual artwork, this book is a great chance to wonder and draw your own conclusions about the thought process of an important contributor to photography. -- J.P. Cohen
From Library Journal
German sculptor and professor Blossfeldt (1865-1932) is best known for his close-up photography of plants and for his association with the New Objectivity movement in German photography. This book, edited by the curators of the Karl Blossfeldt Archive in Z lpich, Germany, mostly comprises his 61 previously unpublished collages of contact prints, with little text. These large, high-quality color reproductions effectively reveal the aesthetic value of the prints as the artist arranged them, side by side on large cardboard sheets. In an introductory essay, Swiss art historian Ulrike Meyer Stump discusses the purpose of Blossfeldt's contact prints, which he suggests was to aid the photographer in studying the forms of plants. Offering a view into an important photographer's methods, this is a recommended addition to museum and art school libraries; Hans Christian Adam's Karl Blossfeldt (LJ 7/99), however, is the best overview of Blossfeldt's work for general academic and larger public library collections. Eric Linderman, East Cleveland P.L., OH
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