Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) was a German instructor of sculpture who used his remarkable photographs of plant studies to educate his students about design elements in nature. Self-taught in photography, he devoted himself to the study of nature, photographing nothing but flowers, buds and seed capsules for thirty-five years. He once said, "The plant never lapses into mere arid functionalism; it fashions and shapes according to logic and suitability, and with its primeval force compels everything to attain the highest artistic form."
Blossfeldt's photographs were made with a homemade camera that could magnify the subject up to thirty times its actual size. By doing so he revealed extraordinary details within the natural structure of the plants. In the process he created some of the most innovative photographic work of his time. The simple yet expressive forms captured on film affirmed his boundless artistic and intellectual ability.
Published in 1928 when Blossfeldt was sixty-three and a professor of applied art at the Berliner Kunsthochschule, Urformen der Kunst quickly became an international bestseller and in turn made Blossfeldt famous almost overnight. His contemporaries were enchanted by the abstract shapes and structures in nature that he revealed to the world. In 2001 Urformen der Kunst was included in "The Book of 101 Books" as one of the seminal photographic books of the Twentieth Century.
These rarely seen, subtly toned black and white photogravure images are now recognized as vital contributions to the history of photography and they remain as intriguing today as they are beautiful. Each image is approx. 10 1/4 x 7 1/2" on a 12 1/4 x 9 1/2" sheet. Prices start at just $75.00. Their affordability also makes them a wonderful item with which to begin a collection.
An important note about image quality: We only sell true first edition Blossfeldt photogravures. Urformen der Kunst was first published in 1928 and was limited to 6,000 hardbound copies. The monograph was subsequently reproduced in 1929, 1935, 1936, 1941, 1948 and 1953. It is important to distinguish the difference between editions, as the print quality of the 1928 edition is superior to all later printings. Soulcatcher Studio has the largest inventory of first edition photogravures on the World Wide Web.
The photogravures that we offer for sale are in overall excellent condition. However, gravure printing in the 1920s was not an exact science. There are occasional light marks or streaks that appeared on the original printing plates or occured during the inking process. These are found in certain images, even from different volumes. We do our best to point these out at the time of purchase. Please let us know if you have any questions concerning condition prior to making your purchase.
Shipping costs for purchases of one to ten photogravures will incur a flat fee of $20.00 for shipments sent anywhere within the USA via USPS Priority Mail (insured). World wide shipping is also available. Please inquire for options and rates.