A German Vision

Deutsche Photographie des 19. Jahrhunderts

EXHIBITION Apr 7 — May 31, 2001

„The invention of photography has revolutionised art as much as the invention of the railway revolutionised the industry." (Alfred Stevens, 1896)
The interest in photography is growing rapidly. The international market for masterpieces of this media produces more and more maximum prices. This development requires of the collector and the interested public an intensive engagement with the entire spectrum and the history of photography. For the first time, KICKEN BERLIN shows a survey of the beginning of photography in Germany. When in 1839 the French State bought the rights of the daguerreotype and made it universally accessible, the beginning of the history of photography commenced. During the last years, photographs of the early days of this media have been increasingly acquired by private and public collections. French, English and American photographers of the second half of the 19th century reach maximum prices on the art market. Until now, German photographers of this period have only been given minor attention. Even the art market has so far ignored these early masterworks of Germany. This exhibition therefore inaugurates a new territory that bears interesting discoveries for the collector with still reasonable prices. Around 1855 the "early classic" of German photography begins. lt takes up the contest with the traditions of painting. Portraits, nature studies, milieu depictions, still lifes and architectural photographs originate. These new representational forms do not need to fear any comparison with traditional aesthetic criteria . Photography was „the New", the tempting. lt stimulated to make experiments. The fruit still lifes and leaf studies by August Kotzsch convey more than mere representation. The plastically forms of grapes and peaches, captured in blury light, transform them into abstract objects, just like Karl Blossfeldt or Albert Renger-Patzsch did centuries later. In addition, his photographs of the vineyard-estate of his family in Loschwitz near Dresden depict the country life of the epoch. Almost every city had its portraitist: Leopold Ahrendts' photographs of the Brandenburger Tor or the Lustgarten with Altem Museum from the Berlin of the 1850s reveal a new cognition - particularly looking back at them in our days, from a different era. This cognition is one which finds its meaning beyond the conglomeration of historical facts. Since 1872 Georg Koppmann captured Hamburg's streets, squares and houses which were meant for destruction due to sanatary reasons or expansion of the haven. His images render a truthful world: wharfes and warehouses that appear to smell of fish and salt. Amongst the highlights of the works in the exhibition are two original bound albums (around 1880) with very early salt and albumen prints showing historical views of different cities and their sights. In addition to this the collector will discover some rare German portrait daguerreotypes (c. 1845–50).

Complementary, Kicken II exhibits with Charles Jones a British position of 19th century photography. This collection of hitherto completely unknown photographs was one of the most sensational market-discoveries in the history of the photo world – this treasure has been found in a London flea-market.