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Hans P.Kraus Jr.: A 19th Century Portrait Studio


Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will show a glimpse of how early photography revolutionized the tradition of portrait making with an exhibition of important 19th century photographs at the Winter Antiques Show from January 21 through 30, 2011, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

The exhibition, entitled A 19th Century Portrait Studio, will showcase photographs from such influential early photographers as Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Nadar, Roger Fenton, and Hill & Adamson. Compelling, intimate and historically fascinating, the photographs depict a range of subjects and processes including daguerreotypes, tintypes, salt prints and albumen prints. A range of subjects are portrayed including the renowned painter Jean-Francois Millet, the famous writer Alexandre Dumas, and the celebrated Victorian beauty who was the mother of Virginia Woolf.

As the process of portrait photography became increasing accessible and widespread through the 19th century, photography studios opened everywhere. To evoke the feeling of a 19th century portrait studio, the booth design will include a daguerreotype camera, posing apparatus, and a painted backdrop.

One of the highlights is a stunning albumen print of young Eliza D. Hobson at Croft Rectory, Yorkshire, circa 1860, by Lewis Carroll, best known as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Frederick Gutekunst was a leading photographer in Philadelphia. His studio opened in 1856 and became a major photography destination for portraiture. His salt print, Joseph Parrish Jr. at his Lesson, 1858-1860 is a sensitive portrait of a studious lad, posed with a book and a Leyden jar, which was used to conduct early experiments in electricity.

A pair of photographs feature an important literary family. Virginia at the age of five, 1887, is a rare, intimate childhood portrait of Virginia Woolf by Henry Herschel Hay Cameron, the son of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Virginia Woolf’s mother is portrayed in a fine albumen print, Stella—study of Mrs. Herbert Duckworth, 1867, by Julia Margaret Cameron.

Nadar is represented by a compelling salt print of Alexandre Dumas, the French writer known for the novels The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

A remarkable whole-plate daguerreotype from the 1850s portrays two actors in a popular 19th century melodrama, Robert Macaire. The photographer is Rufus P. Anson who had a studio at 589 Broadway in New York City.

A fashionable pastime for Victorian women was photocollage with whimsical and fantastical results. One collage from Maria Harriet Elizabeth Cator’s family album depicts a court jester ironically tossing family photographs in the air. This work was recently featured in the exhibition Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage (The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.)

A 19th Century Portrait Studio will be on view at the Winter Antiques Show, booth # 26, at the Park Avenue Armory from January 21 through 30, 2011.

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