The botanical photographs taken by lecturer and modeller Karl Blossfeldt (18651932) are among the milestones in the history of 20th-century photography. To mark the 150th anniversary of Blossfeldts birth, the Ann and Jürgen Wilde Foundation at the Pinakothek der Moderne
, Munich is staging a comprehensive exhibition on his life and work.
The Ann and Jürgen Wilde Foundation manages the Karl Blossfeldt Archive with its unique holdings of original photographs, negatives and documents by Karl Blossfeldt. Together with a large volume of photographs in the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, an exceptionally high-quality presentation of Karl Blossfeldts photographic work can now be staged and its development shown by means of historical documents and archival material that have hardly ever been seen by the general public.
Focal points of the exhibition are Blossfeldts early training as a modeller, his work together with the reformer Moritz Meurer, the photographers own handcrafted designs and his teaching at the Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin . The preliminary works he made for his seminal publication Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature) of 1928 and the reception it received at that time, for example at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1929, form an additional aspect.
The exhibition comprises some 110 original photographs, including numerous large-format prints. Multi-part collages of his work, drawings in Blossfeldts own hand, artistically crafted drafts, correspondence and archival material throw light on Blossfeldts work processes. These are supplemented by the loan of three of the so-called Meurer Bronzes and five of Blossfeldts herbaria from the archives of the Berlin University of the Arts that have also been incorporated in the exhibition. Through this unique interplay of photographs, sculptural works, drawings and preserved plant specimens, Blossfeldts special way of looking at natural and plant shapes is rendered visible in the exhibition.