AMSTERDAM.- Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
presents a selection of original prints from the archive of Karl Blossfeldt. Blossfeldt (b. Germany, 1865) was self-taught and had kept up a keen interest in nature since boyhood. As a sculptor and modeller at an art foundry, he drew inspiration from flowers and plants for decorative motifs. In the 1890s his career took a new direction when he joined a study project in Italy led by Moritz Meurer. It was then that Blossfeldt began to systematically collect and photograph plants.
This documentation was for artistic use rather than scientific. Blossfeldt employed photography to study so-called primal forms from nature. Like his mentor Meurer, he wanted these forms to provide a source of ideas for architects, painters and graphic artists. Blossfeldt used photos from his archive as teaching material in his lectures at Berlins School of Applied Arts. In the course of his life he produced around six thousand photos.
Blossfeldt photographed flowers and plants with large cameras that he built himself. He preferred wild plants and weeds, since these showed natures primal forms far better than cultivated flowers and plants. He also documented flora at various stages of development. Blossfeldt cut unnecessary twigs and leaves away, before photographing his specimens close up against a neutral background. This enabled him to register their regular geometrical patterns. Blossfeldt is considered among the artists of the New Objectivity movement.
It was only later in life that Blossfeldt received recognition as a photographer. In 1926, Berlins Nierendorf Gallery hosted Blossfeldts first exhibition and published a volume entitled Urformen der Kunst in 1928. It was an international success and is considered a seminal work in the development of photography. A second book, Wundergarten der Natur, appeared in 1932. Blossfeldt was not to enjoy his success for long, he died that same year.