Like Lilliputians we observers wander amongst these gigantic plants – Walter Benjamin, 1929
The Michael Hoppen Gallery is currently hosting an online exhibition of pictures by the eminent German photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). He was a German instructor of sculpture who used his remarkable photographs of plant studies to educate his students about design elements in nature.
Selft-thaught in photography, he devoted himself to the study of nature, photographing nothing but flowers, buds and seed capsules for 35 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 63 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 20th Century.
Inspiration for designers
Whether you are interested in the beauty of natural structures or simply revel in great design, these are images to suit all. Karl Blossfeldt is regarded as one of the defining photographers of the 20th century and dedicated 35 years to documenting botanical subject matter. During his career as a teacher, Blossfeldt wished to impart an awareness that the best solutions for design have often already been anticipated in nature. By exploring natural forms and recording their intricate structures, he created teaching aides for his art classes at Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. His images have inspired a huge number of designers throughout the twentieth century and his work continues to influence artists today.
“If I give someone a horsetail, he will have no difficulty making a photographic enlargement of it – anyone can do that. But to observe it, to notice and discover it’s forms, is something only a few are capable of” – Karl Blossfeldt, 1929
Purchase a photogravure by Karl Blossfeldt
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 € 234 (excl tax). Their affordability also makes them a wonderful item with which to begin a collection. Rare original bound sets of these gravures: Urformen der Kunst (1929) and Wunder in der Natur (1932) can also be purchased in the webshop of the gallery.
Michael Hoppen Gallery
The Michael Hoppen Gallery opened in 1992 and is founded on a passion for photography. As a gallery they are renowned for nurturing the careers of new and interesting artists and exhibiting them alongside acknowledged 19th, 20th and 21st century photographic masters.
Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TD, UK. Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 9.30 am – 6 pm, Saturday closed troughout July & August.
Bristol Museum – Karl Blossfelt: Art Forms in Nature from 4 July – 13 September 2015
At the same time in Bristol, United Kingdom, there is an exhibition in the Bristol Museum with 40 works by Karl Blossfeldt. An exquisite display of beautiful photographic images of close-up plants taken in the 1930s. For people living nearby or visiting really worth a visit. For all others please visit the online exhibition at the Michael Hoppen Gallery and enjoy these beautiful peaces of art.