The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, June 22, 2018

Photocollages at the Metropolitan Reveal Wit and Whimsy of the Victorian Era
Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier (French, 1831–1906). Untitled page from the Madame B. Album, 1870s. Collage of watercolor, ink, and albumen prints. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mary and Leigh Block Endowment.

NEW YORK, NY.- In the 1860s and 1870s, long before the embrace of collage techniques by avant-garde artists of the early 20th century, aristocratic Victorian women were experimenting with photocollage. Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art February 2 – May 9, 2010, is the first exhibition to comprehensively examine this little-known phenomenon. Whimsical and fantastical Victorian photocollages, created using a combination of watercolor drawings and cut-and-pasted photographs, reveal the educated minds as well as accomplished hands of their makers. With subjects as varied as new theories of evolution, the changing role of photography, and the strict conventions of aristocratic society, the photocollages frequently debunked stuffy Victorian clichés with surreal, subversive, and funny images. Featuring 48 works from public and private collections—including many that have rarely or never been exhibited before—Playing with Pictures will provide a fascinating window into the creative possibilities of photography in the 19th century.

"In other recent exhibitions at the Metropolitan, we've shown masterpieces of 19th-century British photography by the period's most prominent professionals and serious amateurs (almost always men), whose works were often displayed at the annual salons of the photographic societies and sold by printsellers throughout England and Europe," commented Malcolm Daniel, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs. "What is so exciting about this exhibition is that we see a different type of artist—almost exclusively aristocratic women—using photography in highly imaginative ways, and creating pictures meant for private pleasure rather than public consumption. It is an aspect of photography's history that has rarely been seen or written about."

In England in the 1850s and 1860s, photography became remarkably popular and accessible as people posed for studio portraits and exchanged these pictures on a vast scale. The craze for cartes de visite—photographic portraits the size of a visiting card—led to the widespread hobby of collecting small photographs of family, friends, acquaintances, and celebrities in scrapbooks. Rather than simply gathering such portraits in the standard albums manufactured to hold cartes de visite, the amateur women artists who made the photocollages displayed in Playing with Pictures cut up these photographic portraits and placed them in elaborate watercolor designs in their personal albums.

With sharp wit and dramatic shifts of scale akin to those Alice experienced in Wonderland, Victorian photocollages stand the rather serious conventions of early photography on their heads. Often, the combination of photographs with painted settings inspired dreamlike and even bizarre results: placing human heads on animal bodies; situating people in imaginary landscapes; and morphing faces into common household objects and fashionable accessories. Such albums advertised the artistic accomplishments of the aristocratic women who made them, while also serving as a form of parlor entertainment and an opportunity for conversation and flirtation with the opposite sex.

Playing with Pictures showcases the best Victorian photocollage albums and loose pages of the 1860s and 1870s, on loan from collections across the United States, Europe, and Australia, including the Princess Alexandra Album lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Thirty-four photocollage album pages will be shown in frames on the wall and 11 separate albums will be displayed in cases, open to a single page. These works will be accompanied by "virtual albums" on computer monitors that allow visitors to see the full contents of the albums displayed nearby. As an introduction, the exhibition also includes two carte-de-visite albums of the period and a rare uncut sheet of carte-de-visite portraits from 1859.

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage is curated by Elizabeth Siegel, Associate Curator of Photography at The Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition is organized at the Metropolitan Museum by Malcolm Daniel.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Playing with Pictures | Malcolm Daniel | Photocollages |

Today's News

February 3, 2010

Christie's London Sale Hits Target as Unseen Picasso Sells for $13 Million

Exhibition Celebrates A Collector Who Transformed The National Gallery Of Art

Magnum Photos Announces Partnership with Michael Dell for Its Archive Collection

Internationally Acclaimed Artist Jeff Koons to Create BMW Art Car

Christie's Sale Presents Exciting Selection of Post-War & Contemporary Art

Photocollages at the Metropolitan Reveal Wit and Whimsy of the Victorian Era

Marika Rivera, Daughter of Artist Diego Rivera, Dies in England

Zach Feuer Gallery Presents Group Exhibition "Spontaneous Generation"

Freeman's Auctioneers to Sell Remainder Of Lehman Brothers Art Collection

Eli Klein Fine Art Focuses on Emerging and Established Chinese Contemporary Artists

MoMA will Host Opening Night Benefit for the Armory Show 2010

La Fabrica Galeria in Madrid will Show Work by Shirin Neshat

Museum Tinguely Pays Ttribute to the Basel Fasnacht

Florida Campus Restoration Revives Frank Lloyd Wright's Vision

Bidder Confidence Strong with English Decorative Arts and Russian Faberge

Hajj Terminal in Saudi Arabia Selected to Receive 2010 AIA Twenty-five Year Award

Leandro Erlich to Inaugurate New Series of Exhibitions at Museum of Latin American Art

Plains Art Museum to Acquire Rosenquist's The North Dakota Mural

National Endowment for the Arts Announces $25,000 Logo Design Competition

Tony Bennett Paints 2010 Jazz Fest Poster

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

AXA Equitable donates Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural "America Today" to Met Museum

Exhibition of Forbidden City Treasures Goes on View at Metropolitan Museum in February

New Installation Features Cabinets and Caskets from Metropolitan Museum's Collection

New Installation Features Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from Metropolitan Museum's Collection

Gifts Enhance Metropolitan Museum's Scholarly Activities in Cycladic and Early Greek Art

Metropolitan Museum to Undertake Major Redesign and Reconstruction of its Fifth Avenue Outdoor Plaza and Fountains

Alexander McQueen's Iconic Designs to be Celebrated in Spring 2011 at the Metropolitan

Metropolitan and Egypt Announce Initiative to Recognize Egypt's Title to Objects from Tut's Tomb

Sculptural Installations by Contemporary Icelandic Artist Katrin Sigurdardottir on View at Metropolitan

Innovative Furniture by American Designer Charles Rohlfs Displayed at Metropolitan Museum

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful