The 19th-Century Photography Annual Conference and Show
Presented by the Daguerreian Society
October 19-23, 2016, at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City
This Program will be the largest and most important series of events on 19th-century photography in the world this year. The 19th-Century Photography Conference speakers are some of the top international experts in their fields, and the Show will feature nearly 100 of the top early photography dealers from nine countries offering tens of thousands of photographs for sale.
The Conference fees include the Thursday evening Grand Reception and Silent Auction, the full Friday Conference Program, and the Saturday evening Buffet Banquet at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, followed by the Live Benefit Auction. Conference registration also includes early bird admission at 9:15 a.m. to the Saturday 19th-Century Photography Show.
19th-Century Photography Conference
Friday, October 21, 2016
Introduction to the Conference
8:30 AM – 8:45 AM (Grand Ballroom)
Keynote Address on 19th-Century Photography
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenter: Jeff Rosenheim
Jeff Rosenheim has worked at The Met since 1988, and is Curator in Charge of the department of photographs. He is a specialist in American photography and was the curator of The Met’s lauded 2013 traveling exhibition Photography and the American Civil War. Rosenheim has a BA in American Studies from Yale University, and an MFA in Photography from Tulane University.
Rosenheim is the author or co-author of some twenty books on Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, Robert Polidori, and Paul Graham, among others.
A frequent lecturer in the United States and abroad, he has taught the history of photography and studio art at Columbia University, the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU), Cooper Union, and Bard College. Rosenheim has just finished work on an exhibition and publication of the early photographs (1956–1962) of Diane Arbus.
Battle of the Century — 19th, That Is. The Part that Each of the Early Pioneers Really Played in the Development of Photography
9:15 – 11:00 AM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenters: Keith Davis, Moderator; Stephen Pinson; Dusan Stulik; Larry Schaaf; Nancy Keeler
Keith F. Davis is Senior Curator of Photography, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. He guided the growth of the Hallmark Photographic Collection from 1979 to 2005. When this was transferred to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in late 2005 he became the museum’s founding curator of photography. Davis has curated nearly one hundred exhibitions and is the author of more than twenty books.
Stephen C. Pinson: Daguerre’s Gambit
Daguerre is known as one of a handful of innovators to develop and embrace the various technologies that we now refer to as photography. And yet the daguerreotype was essentially the final gambit of a career artist who had cultivated popular support and official recognition during one of the most politically and socially complex periods in French history, the years spanning the French Revolution to the July Monarchy. In the mere decade leading up to the announcement of the daguerreotype, Daguerre survived an economic and agricultural depression; the abdication of Charles X; a cholera epidemic; personal bankruptcy; the departure of his partner, Charles Bouton, from the Diorama; and the death of his photographic collaborator, Nicéphore Niépce. The French government’s ultimate support for the daguerreotype in 1839 not only demonstrates Daguerre’s ambition and entrepreneurial prowess, but also his determination, resiliency, and political savvy: he was a cultural impresario who carefully crafted his status as artist, inventor, and businessman in order to reconcile artistic and political viability with popular visual media. Beyond the particular process that he invented, perhaps his most significant contribution to photography is his approach to the medium as both artist and entrepreneur.
Since November 2015, Stephen C. Pinson has been Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mr. Pinson previously worked at e New York Public Library, serving as the Robert B. Menschel Curator of Photography and head of the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. He is the author of Speculating Daguerre: Art and Enterprise in the Work of L.J.M. Daguerre (2012).
Dusan C. Stulik: The Glory and Enigmata of Pre-1839 Photography
Although we celebrate 1839 as the year photography was invented, we know dozens of photographic images were created during the pre-history of photography in the years 1727 through 1839. More than a dozen of these images created by H. Florence, J. N. Niépce, H. F. Talbot and L. J. M. Daguerre survive housed in regional, national, and private collections. Utilizing advanced methods of conservation science the team at the Getty Conservation Institute was able to confirm or correct previously published information related to the photographic processes used to create these iconic images. Photographic process recreations based on existing pre-1839 photographic literature, notes, and letters provided insight into the darkroom techniques of these and other early pioneers of photography. The analytical signatures recorded from these process recreation studies will provide needed support when authenticating any new finds from the rich pre-history of photography era. There is still much more to be discovered!
Dr. Dusan C. Stulik, now retired, was a Senior Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute. He received his BS and MS degrees in Chemistry and his PhD in Physics from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague.
He was a Project Leader of the GCI Research in Photographic Conservation project. His research focuses on the application of modern scientific and analytical methodologies for research and identification and characterization of photographs.
His research group has conducted the first-ever scientific investigation of an iconic Heliograph created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 that is also well known as the First Photograph. Interested in the application of methods of technical art history in art historical research of photographs, he researched and developed a new scientifically based methodology for provenancing and authenticating photographs.
He has presented his research on the First Photograph at the Daguerreian Society meeting in Sacramento in 2002 and he has presented the Getty Conservation Institute – National Museum of Media (Bradford UK) research project “Niépce in England” at the St. Petersburg symposium in 2011.
His current research, writing, and daguerreotype art focuses on the in-depth scientific investigation of both historical and modern methods of the daguerreotype process, daguerreotype process variants, and tinted daguerreotypes. Continuing in hands-on and scientific investigation of photographic processes of the prehistory of photography era, he focuses on the work of Thomas Wedgwood, Humphry Davy, and Hercules Florence.
Dr. Stulik is an author or co-author of several scientific and conservation science books and he has published more than seventy peer-reviewed research articles. He is also a recipient of several prestigious awards for his work related to the preservation of cultural heritage. For his groundbreaking investigation of Niépce’s heliographs and heliogravures he has received the 2011 Macallan Award of the Royal Photographic Society.
Larry J Schaaf: Out of the Shadows: Henry Talbot & the Invention of Photography
William Henry Fox Talbot independently conceived of the art of photography in 1833 and first obtained results in 1834. However, it was not until Daguerre’s announcement in January 1839 that Talbot made his process publicly known. Whereas Daguerre’s elegant and seductive process produced unique images on precious silvered plates, Talbot made his images on the versatile and familiar medium of paper. His approach of using a negative that could produce multiple prints defined the main course of photography right down to the digital age.
Starting in the late 1960s, Larry J Schaaf taught photojournalism at The University of Texas at Austin. Accidental exposure to the fabulous Gernsheim Collection of photography there lured him into becoming a photo historian (and lapsed photographer). The author of numerous books and journal articles and a frequent public speaker, Dr. Schaaf has alternately been a freelancer and a serial monogamist with institutions.
In 2003 his Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot went online, making available full searchable transcriptions of more than 10,000 Talbot letters. Currently he is a Professor with the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, preparing the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné that will put online the nearly 25,000 Talbot negatives and prints known to survive worldwide. His residence is in Baltimore, Maryland. (Daguerreotype portrait of Larry Schaaf by Mike Robinson)
Nancy Keeler: Hippolyte Bayard’s Direct Positive Photography: The French Art World of the 1830s and the Invention of Photography
The invention of photography was one of the most exciting events of an exciting epoch. In the salons of Paris, the heart of intellectual life there in the 1830s, Daguerre’s invention provoked lively debate. While the beauty of the daguerreotype was not in dispute, in the salons, especially those frequented by artists, an interest quickly grew for a version of photography on paper. The direct positive process invented by Hippolyte Bayard was seen as more compatible with artistic practice. The Académie des Beaux Arts endorsed Bayard’s process, in opposition to the Académie des Sciences, whose prestige and political weight were behind Daguerre. The daguerreotype dominated photography during its first decade in France. The invention became imprinted with a scientific and technical identity that came to define the early historiography of the medium. But a pioneering group of enthusiasts rallied around Bayard, and carried photographic processes on paper forward through the 1840s on a current parallel to, though less visible than that of the daguerreotype, dedicating their efforts to promoting an aesthetic, rather than an exclusively scientific, identity for photography.
Nancy Keeler is an independent scholar and research consultant in photography based in Cambridge, MA. She received her AB degree from Radcliffe/Harvard College, and her master’s degree and doctorate in Art History from the University of Texas, Austin. She wrote her dissertation on Hippolyte Bayard. Her research was supported by a Fulbright Grant and University Fellowship from the University of Texas. She held a Florence Gould Foundation Visiting Fellowship in Nineteenth Century Art and Photography at Princeton University in 1996. She lived in Paris for many years before returning to the United States in 2002.
She has worked in various photography collections, including the Gernsheim Collection, and since 2003, in the Prints, Drawings and Photographs department of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She was awarded the Museum’s Morse Curatorial Fellowship for Prints and Drawings. She has worked as an independent lecturer, and as a consultant for museums and dealers, including expert opinion on Bayard materials.
Her interests center on the period of the invention of photography in England as well as France. She has written for both English and French publications, including The History of Photography, Photographies, and La Recherche Photographique. Her work is included in Paper and Light; the Getty publication Photography: Discovery and Invention; and in the proceedings of the colloquium Hippolyte Bayard, Chevalier de l’Ombre. Most recently, for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, she has co-authored MFA Highlights: Photography, and is the author of Gardens in Perpetual Bloom, a catalogue written for the Museum’s exhibition of botanical prints that traveled to Nagoya, Japan.
Daguerreotype Collection: 1140 Images Collected Over 60+ Years
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: Charles A. Swedlund
This lecture will present examples from Charles A. Swedlund’s Daguerreotype collection that are visually exciting and historically important. Anecdotal information obtained by researching the images will be presented. The numerous discoveries made by removing the image from the case will be shown. The collection is an archive with a full four-drawer file cabinet with inkjet prints and information about the images.
Charles A. Swedlund was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Photography from the Institute of Design, Chicago, Illinois, and has taught Fine Art Photography and History of Photography for 40 years at the Institute of Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University, the State University College at Buffalo, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has had more than 60 solo exhibitions and over 140 group exhibitions. His photographs are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the George Eastman Museum; and the Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris. He is represented by The Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.
His daguerreotypes have been included in Beaumont Newhall, The Daguerreotype In America, Third Revised Edition; John Wood, Search of the Dark Chamber; Dr. Stanley Burns, Sleeping Beauty; and Maureen De Lorne, Mourning Art & Jewelry.
Carrying Off the Palaces: John Ruskin’s Lost Daguerreotypes
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenter: Ken Jacobson
The inspiration for this now published research was a remarkable discovery made by Ken & Jenny Jacobson at a small country auction in 2006. One lightly regarded lot, estimated at $135, was a distressed mahogany box crammed with so-called “photographs on metal” that transpired to be 188 long-lost daguerreotypes that had once belonged to John Ruskin, the great 19th-century art critic, writer, artist, and social reformer. Assiduously taken, purchased or commissioned by Ruskin, the many scenes of Italy, France, and Switzerland include the largest collection of daguerreotypes of Venice in the world and probably the earliest surviving photographs of the Alps. This trove has, at a stroke, more than doubled the number of Ruskin daguerreotypes extant.
Ruskin’s Venetian daguerreotypes became invaluable records for The Stones of Venice, his epic three-volume documentation of the city, published 1851–1853. The daguerreotypes were frequently used as studies for his watercolors of the same subjects. When he began to struggle with his paintings in the 1850s, his daguerreotypes took on a remarkable freedom that appeared to reflect the turmoil of a changed state of mind. Ruskin’s subject matter ranged from serene Venetian canal scenes to intricate architectural details and semi-abstract geological studies. His aim as both painter and daguerreotypist was merely to make documents of the buildings and natural world he loved but the result was very much greater than that. The quality and unorthodox style of many of Ruskin’s daguerreotypes will come as a major revelation to photographic historians, Ruskin scholars, and daguerreotype collectors.
Ken Jacobson was brought up in Syracuse, New York, and received a degree in chemistry at Princeton University. While working for a Ph.D. in the Biophysics Department at King’s College, University of London, Ken met his future wife, Jenny. Bewitched by a buoyant 1970s capital city, he was often distracted from his scientific experiments, not helped by a burgeoning fascination for 19th-century photography. He found himself too often searching London antique markets and antiquarian bookshops. For 46 years, he has lived in England and been immersed in this ‘new’ subject as dealer, collector and historian. He has been a long time member of AIPAD and the Daguerreian Society. Ken’s previous publications include: Étude d’Après Nature: 19th-Century Photographs in Relation to Art; “The Lovely Sea-View... Which All London is Wondering at”: A Study of the Marine Photographs Published by Gustave Le Gray, 1856–1858; and Odalisques & Arabesques: Orientalist Photography 1839–1925. Carrying Off the Palaces: John Ruskin’s Lost Daguerreotypes, co-authored with his wife, Jenny, has proved his most ambitious, but rewarding, project to date. The book has won the Apollo International Art Magazine’s award for book of the year and also the first ever Ruskin Society Book prize.
A Daguerreian Journey: A Personal Perspective on the Daguerreotype in Art-Historical Thinking and Assembly of a Key Museum Collection
1:15 – 2:00 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenter: Keith Davis
A personal perspective on the evolving place of the daguerreotype in art-historical thinking over the last half-century and the assembly of one of the leading museum collections of our time.
The Power of Light: Daguerreotypes from the Robert Harshorn Shimshak Collection
1:15 – 2:00 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: Robert Flynn Johnson
Thirty years ago, the Shimshak collection was shown at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. At the time, daguerreotypes were rarely exhibited outside of historical societies or libraries. When they were, however, it was never as art but solely for the person or place depicted.
At the time the daguerreotype was quaintly viewed by all but a few in the photography world as something akin to the eight track tape or the Betamax...purely an early technology that was to quickly be made redundant by more effective, popular, and inexpensive forms of 19th-century photographic processes. I found this an unacceptable situation for a medium capable of extraordinary artistic effects. I was determined to remedy this false impression with an exhibition emphasizing the aesthetic qualities of daguerreotypes.
Credit is due to the legendary San Francisco dealer Sean Thackery for truly opening my curatorial eyes to the hologram-like qualities of the medium. Although a process capable of visual magic, most daguerreotypes are simply captured mediocre likenesses. What I needed was a collection formed with a rigorous sense of quality — the importance of the sitter or even the Daguerreian artist was unimportant — the aesthetic power of the works themselves was paramount. I found that in the Oakland collection of Robert Harshorn Shimshak.
Robert Flynn Johnson is Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. His books include The Face in the Lens: Anonymous Photographs, Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographers, and Being Human.
A German Lady in New York
2:05 – 2:35 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: Dr. Hans Gummersbach
This is the story of an exceptional, self-confident young woman named Bertha Beckmann from Cottbus, Germany, who became one of the first successful female photographers in history.
In 1840, when she was 24 years old, she first encountered the new epochal invention of the daguerreotype. Completely fascinated by these images from the camera obscura, she set out independently in the early 1840s for Prague, to study the new technique with Wilhelm Horn, one of the important European photographers.
Having mastered the trade, in 1845, along with her husband Eduard Wehnert, she founded a photographic atelier in Leipzig, which enjoyed great success with the local citizens.
In 1849 Bertha Beckmann-Wehnert took a courageous step totally out of keeping with that era. Only two years after the unexpected death of her husband, she started for America where she established a studio for calotypy (“phototypy on paper”) in New York on Broadway, not far from the studios for daguerreotypy run by Joshia W. Thomson, Jesse Whitehurst, Samuel Root, and other figures leading in the field. During her time in New York Bertha’s customers numbered, among other notables, Commodore Matthew Perry, the former Secretary of State Henry Clay, and President Millard Fillmore.
Despite great acclamation for her photographic achievements in the USA, as early as 1851 Bertha Beckmann cut short her stay in New York and travelled back to her German homeland, settling in Leipzig, where she continued to work as a successful photographer, finally closing her studio in 1882 after a 40-year career.
Dr. Hans Gummersbach studied political science, art, and history at the University of Münster and the University of Paderborn, Germany. He is the former director of adult education institutions, a former head offcial of the School and Further Education Department of the City of Münster, and former Executive Manager of an advanced vocational training center. He is a collector of fine daguerreotypes and ephemera since 1973 and holds a lectureship on photohistory at the Academy of Fine Arts, Münster, Germany.
Collector Thomas Walther interviewed by Denise Bethel: Why This Former Modernist Collector Has Turned to 19th-Century Photography
2:05 – 2:35 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenters: Denise Bethel and Thomas Walther
Thomas Walther, who grew up in Germany, currently lives in Switzerland, after spending the better part of more than 30 years shuttling between Europe and New York City. Walther began collecting photographs when he first arrived in the U.S. in the 1970s when he was still in his 20s.
While his collection has spanned the entire history and breadth of photography, 19th-century images are his current passion and focus. His collection of such images is considered by many to be perhaps the largest and best private collection of 19th-century photographs in the world. He has consistently been ranked in the top ten of photography collectors internationally.
Walther’s collection of modernist 20th-century photography is well known, and most of that collection was gifted and sold to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which opened a landmark show, Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949, to rave reviews in December 2014 and which continued through April 19, 2015.
His earlier show of “found” vernacular images at New York’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2000, entitled Other Pictures, was one of the very first such exhibits at a major museum. “Seeing is an act of creation,” Walther wrote in the catalogue. “These photographs remind us that the camera can be an extension of genius in the hands of any one of us.”
Walther is also a talented photographer and has a current exhibition in Switzerland.
Denise Bethel, formerly Chairman, Photographs Americas, Sotheby’s, Inc., spent 35 years in the photographs auction business in New York. After a decade at Swann Galleries, she moved to Sotheby’s in 1990, where she set world records for a whole host of photographers, from Southworth & Hawes and Alfred Stieglitz to Edward Weston and Diane Arbus. While at Sotheby’s, she oversaw sales of work from, among others, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Quillan Corporation, 7-Eleven, Inc., the Polaroid Collection, and the private collections of Margaret Weston, Henry Buhl, and Joseph and LaVerne Schieszler. Her last sale, in December 2014, of works from the Joy of Giving Something Foundation, set a record for any photographs auction worldwide, at $21.3 million. She is now a consultant, writer, and lecturer who divides her time between Manhattan and her hometown of Richmond, Virginia.
Member’s Favorite Story about a Photograph
2:50 –3:25 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Moderator: Michael Lehr
The idea for my talk, really more of a visual and oral history project, stems from my desire to allow collectors a chance to discuss images in their collection without presenting a long-form presentation. Last year I led a group of members discussing either the first image they bought or the first that made them say, “OK, now I am a collector.”
This year, I thought it would be nice to have collectors talk about their “Zen” moment with an image. We have all had that moment when an image just spoke to us and gave us that wonderful feeling of nirvana. Sometimes it is an image we have owned for years, other times something we have just bought. The images needn’t be masterworks, but, rather, should be special to you.
I’d like to solicit 8–10 people to give a three-minute talk about one daguerreotype. We will show the image on the screen and each person will stand at the podium to tell their story. Please drop me a line if you are interested, will be in New York, and attach your photo: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your initial thoughts about what you might say.
Michael Lehr is an avid collector and dealer of 19th-century cased image. He has spent his entire life surrounded by some of the greatest images from the 19th and 20th centuries. In his youth he often dined with some of the notable pioneers in the collecting of photography, including Van Derren Coke, Beaumont Newhall, and the Rinharts.
He graduated from Parson’s with a BFA in photography. Currently Michael is a board member of The Daguerreian Society.
Artists Perfectly Enchanted: The Circle of Talbot
2:50 –3:25 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: Larry J Schaaf
Daguerre’s invention spread so rapidly that by the mid-1840s thousands worldwide practiced his process. Yet this public showman remained a largely solitary figure in his few productions after the public announcement. In contrast, William Henry Fox Talbot’s negative/positive process on paper got off to a slow public start but he formed a network of close associates and family who advanced both his own artistry and his invention.
Talbot’s greatest advocate and most severe critic was his mother, the formidable Lady Elisabeth Feilding, who orchestrated many of his photographs in much the manner of a film director. His most enthusiastic supporter was Nicolaas Henneman, once his valet and literally the first person to make his living from publishing photographs. The Rev. Calvert R. Jones and Rev. George Bridges took to his calotype paper with much more vigor than they took to the cloth. Others such as Sir David Brewster, John Frederick Goddard, and Antoine Claudet provided critical scientific support.
This network will be discussed in the context of the online William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné currently under construction by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford. Rolling publication will start near the end of the year and when complete this will make available the nearly 25,000 original negatives and prints from Talbot and his circle known to survive worldwide.
The Surprising History of the Calotype in America
3:25 – 4:00 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: David R. Hanlon
While the daguerreotype was the preeminent photographic format in the United States until the second half of the 1850s, growing evidence shows that images created on paper had a distinctive role in scientific, documentary, and artistic studies during the same period. This discussion will present examples from this lesser-known area of early American photography.
David R. Hanlon is a professor and program coordinator of photographic studies, at St. Louis Community College. He has written about early photography in a variety of journals and exhibition catalogs over the last two decades, and his book Illuminating Shadows: The Calotype in Nineteenth-Century America (Carl Mautz Publishing, 2013) has received praise for helping to initiate further discussion about this facet of the medium’s history.
Hand on the Burner: Avoiding Fakes and the Pain They Cause
3:25 – 4:00 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenter: Mike Medhurst
In this talk Mike Medhurst will share from his own learning experiences in the hope of helping collectors avoid costly mistakes. He will explore the role our behavior plays in how we decide to purchase an image. Most importantly we will learn how to avoid some of the fake 19th-century photography that plagues the market today. While this overview cannot possibly cover all the ways and types of fakes on the market today, the goal is to equip the attendee with tools and information helpful to avoid the pain of being fooled by a charlatan. The experience of a collector is largely determined by the type of consequence that buying brings. A positive experience always brings about a higher rate of behavior than a negative experience. In image terms this means that the more positive your experience the more likely you are to enjoy your purchase and buy another image. A negative experience lessens the behavior. Should this experience become punishing it will extinguish your collecting behavior altogether. In order to avoid that type of calamity a collector must be knowledgeable. The goal of this lecture is to equip the attendee with the basic knowledge necessary to greatly increase the chance that the experience of buying an image is a positive one.
Mike Medhurst is a graduate of Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and earned his MS at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. For 30 years Mike has held dual careers as both a dealer in 19th-century photography and documents as well as serving as Human Resources Director for a large manufacturing firm. As one of the Midwest’s largest dealers in 19th-century photography, Mike has been a trusted source of images for collectors and institutions worldwide. Mike’s long-running involvement in American Civil War photography has often led to appraisal work, including the National Park Service collection of Trans Mississippi Civil War images and material. While Mike sells all types of 19th-century images, his personal passion is for daguerreotypes. Mike’s personal collection of St. Louis-marked daguerreotypes is unsurpassed outside of select institutions.
Buying 19th-Century Photography at Auction
4:15 – 5:00 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenters: Alex Novak, moderator; Daile Kaplan; Nigel Russell; Michelle Lamunière; and Wes Cowan
Learn all about how to buy at auction. How do you get started with a good relationship with an auction house, and why bother? What are some of the pros and cons of buying 19th-century photography at auction? What’s the best way of checking on condition of photographs at auction? What do estimates and reserves mean, and how do they work? How should you look at those estimates and reserves when bidding? How do you read and evaluate the information on an auction lot? Should you bid yourself (by phone or in person), have a knowledgeable intermediary bid for you, or have the auction house do it for you? How does one evaluate “hard images” or paper photographs by anonymous photographers? How do you find out the value of items at auction? What does some of the terminology mean, such as buy-in rate, buyer’s premium, etc.?
Alex Novak writes and speaks extensively on the arts and photography. He is followed by thousands on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on his website, IPhotoCentral.com.
Novak is currently the owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, which sells artistic and historically important photographs. His company is a member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD). He is currently on the board of the Daguerreian Society. He was a founding member of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s photography council. Novak has been a member of the board of the non-profit Photo Review, which publishes both The Photo Review and The Photograph Collector, and is currently on its advisory board.
He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest-circulation newsletter in the field of photography art and collecting. He is also CEO of the company that owns the multi-dealer web site, I Photo Central.
Daile Kaplan is Vice President, Director of Photographs & Photobooks, and an auctioneer at Swann Galleries. Daile appears regularly as a photographs specialist on PBS’s popular television program Antiques Roadshow, and has also appeared as a commentator on photographic images on The History Channel, HGTV, and The Discovery Channel.
Daile is a champion of photography in its myriad forms and has lectured extensively about collecting. She coined the term “pop photographica” to describe three-dimensional objects that address the convergence of photography and popular culture. Her recently published book, Pop Photographica, Image Objects, highlights three-dimensional objects from her collection that were exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles, in France.
She has contributed essays to Click! Photography Changes Everything (Aperture, 2012); Appraising Art: The Definitive Guide (Appraisers Association of America, 2013); The Education of a Photographer (Allworth Press, 2007); and In the Vernacular, Photography of the Everyday (Boston University Press, 2008). She has also written about Albert Arthur Allen, Alice Austen, and Lewis W. Hine.
Daile serves on the Board of Directors of the Appraisers Association of America and the Board of Advisors of the W. Eugene Smith Foundation and the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. She is a member of ArtTable, POWarts, and the Authors Guild.
Nigel Russell was educated at Vassar College and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied Photographic Science and Engineering. He started his career in 1979 at Sotheby’s London cataloguing antique cameras and scientific instruments and instituted Sotheby’s first auctions devoted solely to cameras, photographic viewers, and optical toys. In 1981 he transferred to Sotheby’s New York as Assistant Departmental Director of the Collectibles Department and was responsible for the auction of the Dobran Collection of Photographica, the first sale of its kind in America.
After leaving Sotheby’s Russell became the curator of the Spira Collection, New York, a private collection of approximately 20,000 items relating to the history of photography. He remained there until 1999, then working at Swann Auction Galleries as the Photographs & Camera Specialist. Subsequent to Swann’s, Russell was back at Sotheby’s as the Director of the Photographs Department for Sothebys.com and at Christie’s New York as a Photographs Specialist. He also consulted on antique and collectible cameras for Adorama, New York, and WestLicht Photographica Auctions, Vienna.
From November 2005 to March 2006, Nigel was a photography consultant for the National Counsel for Culture, Art & Heritage, Doha, Qatar and worked as Photography Curator for the Qatar Museums Authority from November 2006 until March 2013. Nigel has been Director of Photographs at Heritage Auctions since August 1015.
Most recently Nigel was the consultant on the history of photographic technology for the exhibition and book Who Shot Sports currently at the Brooklyn Museum. He was a major contributor to The History of Photography As Seen through the Spira Collection published by Aperture in the fall of 2001 and co-author of Spirit Capture: Photographs from the National Museum of the American Indian, published by the Smithsonian in the fall of 1998 as well as a contributor to various photography magazines. Nigel was a member of the advisory committee of the Technology Department of the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House and has also lectured on “The Photography Auction Market” and “Collecting Photographica.”
Michelle Lamunière is the Fine Photographs Specialist in the American & European Works of Art department at Boston-based Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers where she is responsible for the evaluation, research, and cataloging of photographic works of art. Previously, she was assistant curator of photography at the Fogg Museum/Harvard Art Museums, where she cared for the permanent collection, assisted with new acquisitions, and organized exhibitions on a range of subjects from the 19th century to contemporary photography. Lamunière received her Ph.D. in Art History from Boston University, and holds an M.A. in Art History from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in Art History and French from Vassar College. She received a certificate in Appraisal Studies from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015.
Wes Cowan is founder and owner of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio. Cowan’s has been a national leader in the sale of 19th-century photography for more than 20 years and has sold many notable daguerreian-era images. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Wes holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, and before founding his auction company taught Anthropology at the Ohio State University, and was Curator of Archaeology at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. He is a frequent appraiser on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, and for eleven years was a host of the PBS series History Detectives.
The Mission Héliographique and How It Influenced 19th-Century Documentary Photography
4:15 – 5:00 PM (Crystal Ballroom)
Presenter: Malcolm Daniel
In France, the first decade of photography was dominated by the daguerreotype, but in the early 1850s paper photography — cheaper, reproducible, and more akin to the other graphic arts — began to flourish. The medium was given encouragement by an important government commission in 1851: photographic surveys intended to aid the Paris-based Historic Monuments Commission in determining the nature and urgency of the preservation and restoration work required at historic sites throughout France. Five photographers — Henri Le Secq, Hippolyte Bayard, Édouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, and Auguste Mestral — were assigned travel itineraries with detailed lists of monuments to be recorded, including the work of Roman engineers, remnants of the Romanesque, treasures of the high Gothic, and the Renaissance chateaux of the Loire.
The photographers carried out their “missions héliographiques” in the summer and fall of 1851, returning to Paris with portfolios brimming with prints and negatives to show their fellow practitioners. Hopes were high as they handed in 258 negatives to the government, but disappointment followed as the Commission neither published the photographs nor authorized the photographers to do so on their own. Prints from the missions héliographiques are thus especially rare, but the government’s failure to publish these photographs prompted photographers to build their own stock of images of the nation’s architectural patrimony in the years that followed.
Malcolm Daniel is the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a position he assumed in December 2013 after 23 years on the curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, including nine years as head of that museum’s Department of Photographs. He received his B.A. in Art History and Studio Art from Trinity College, Hartford, in 1978 and his Masters and Doctorate in art history from Princeton University in 1987 and 1991. A specialist in 19th-century French and British photography, he has curated or co-curated many exhibitions focused on key figures in the history of photography including the French architectural and landscape photographer Édouard Baldus and his British contemporary Roger Fenton, the great portraitist of Victorian England, Julia Margaret Cameron, the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas, and the early-20th-century masters of the medium, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand, as well as The Met’s 2003 show of French daguerreotypes. Mr. Daniel is the author of numerous exhibition catalogues and scholarly articles and has served as adjunct professor for Columbia University and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
Circa 1860: The Emergence of American Eastern Landscape Photography
5:05 – 5:50 PM (Grand Ballroom)
Presenter: Diane Waggoner
Landscape photography in the eastern United States emerged as a distinct genre around the year 1860 in the work of W.J. Stillman, John Moran, Charles and Edward Bierstadt, and others. These photographers’ pictures of the Adirondacks, the White Mountains, and regions of Pennsylvania will be considered in light of their interactions with broader contemporary currents in American art.
Diane Waggoner is Curator in the department of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Since 2004, she has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions, including The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888–1978: From the Collection of Robert E. Jackson (2007) (winner of the College Art Association’s Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award for museum scholarship) and The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848–1875 (2010). In 2013, she collaborated with Tate Britain on Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848–1900. She is currently organizing East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography, to be presented at the Gallery in 2017. She received her PhD in art history from Yale University.
Thursday, October 20, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
There will be a Grand Reception in the evening in the Grand Ballroom at the Wyndham. This is an occasion to meet fellow attendees and presenters, as well as meet and mingle with Society Annual Conference attendees. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will include carving stations, etc. A paid bar will also be available.
Thursday, October 20, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
The Grand Reception will also offer a selection of items on Silent Auction that night. This year, in addition to images, the Silent Auction will feature rare bottles of wine, photography books, restaurant certificates, a hotel weekend package, and much more.
Friday Night Receptions
October 21, 7:15 – 10:00 PM
Howard Greenberg Gallery will have a related special exhibit of contemporary art using antiquarian photography methods, A New and Mysterious Art: Ancient Photographic Methods in Contemporary Art, curated by Jerry Spagnoli, that will be on view from September 15 to October 29. The show includes work by Takashi Arai, Stephen Berkman, Dan Estabrook, Adam Fuss, Luther Gerlach, Vera Lutter, Sally Mann, Matthias Olmeta, France Scully Osterman & Mark Osterman, and Craig Tuffin. A reception at the gallery at 41 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022 is planned for Friday night, October 21st.
There will also be a reception at Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs on Friday night for Adam Fuss Daguerreotypes & The Womb of the Pre-Raphaelite Imagination and John Beasley Greene at 962 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10028.
Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America
American Folk Art Museum
Portraiture began with shadows, a profile traced from a shadow on a wall that captured presence and absence as one. Yet securing a shadow is no substitute for substance; it is a mere wisp of memory. Before the advent of photography, posthumous portraits were the only means of retaining an image of a loved one, especially important for keeping alive the memory of a child whose short existence might otherwise be undocumented. The exhibition Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America is the first major museum exhibition to explore this fascinating and under-examined genre in American folk art.
The exhibition will conclude with a display of postmortem photography. The invention of photography introduced a new vehicle of remembrance, one that caught a truthful likeness. Although the photograph could sometimes cheat death through a “sleeping” image, the “hue of death” was more often unmistakable. “Secure the shadow ere the substance fades” became the sales pitch of the itinerant photographer, and the high mortality rates of the nineteenth century ensured his success, judging by the numbers of images that survived. Such photography proliferated during the Civil War period and coincided with the removal of the practical care of the dead from the home to the funeral parlor. Ultimately, the photographic image was not able to cheat death as the painted portrait had earlier in the nineteenth century. Yet the images remain deeply meaningful to family and friends. The tradition of the postmortem photograph is as vital today as it was when photographer Mathew Brady declared, “You cannot tell how soon it may be too late.”
11 a.m. tour
American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
Faith and Photography: Auguste Salzmann in the Holy Land
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The first-ever exhibition devoted exclusively to the career of the French academic painter, archaeologist, and photographer. In 1853, Auguste Salzmann (1824–1872) embarked on the arduous journey from Paris to Jerusalem. Hoping to objectively verify religious faith through the documentation of the city’s holy sites, he turned to photography, creating one of the most enigmatic bodies of work of the 19th century.
Despite a high-caliber photographic oeuvre of great variation and creativity, Salzmann remains relatively unknown. Some three-dozen rare salted paper prints from paper negatives have been selected from his influential 1856 album, Jerusalem: A Study and Photographic Reproduction of the Monuments of the Holy City. All the works are in the Gilman Collection of The Met’s Department of Photographs.
3 p.m. tour by Anjuli Lebowitz
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
82nd Street and 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Qing Dynasty Peking: Thomas Child’s Photographs
Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College
| Thomas Child: Jade Belt Bridge, c. 1870, albumen silver print
Qing Dynasty Peking: Thomas Child’s Photographs features a selection of over 40 original 19th-century albumen silver prints by Thomas Child from the Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection, the largest holding of historical photographs of China in private hands. Child occupies a special place in the history of photography for the outstanding body of work he produced in China during the late Qing dynasty. Child’s rare views of Peking are from the earliest comprehensive photographic survey of the ancient city. During his nearly two decades as a resident of Peking, from 1871–1889, Child produced the most extensive photographic documentation of the city and its environs. The images depict the architecture, monuments, people, and culture of Peking during the early years of photography in late imperial China. Child’s photographs offer a unique glimpse into the country’s rich cultural past.
The English photographer Thomas Child was hired in 1870 by the Imperial Maritime Customs Service for the post of gas engineer in Peking, China. He brought his camera and photographic equipment with him to Peking. While a resident in China, Child created the earliest and most complete photographic survey of Peking and its surroundings. In the 1870s, Child took nearly 200 photographs of the ancient city, offering some of the earliest photographic records of Chinese architecture and life in late Qing dynasty Peking. Child was an early documentarian, producing printed labels with descriptive text to accompany his photographs. It is evident from his photographs and their labels that he took great care to understand the long history and culture of the Chinese people. Child learned to speak Chinese, and he spent time among Chinese residents while he was in Peking, sharing with them his knowledge of the art of photography. Child’s broad photographic survey of Peking and its surroundings provides a significant visual record of China’s rich cultural history.
3 p.m. tour by Stacey Lambrow and Stephan Loewentheil
Sidney Mishkin Gallery
135 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010
Judy Hochberg and Michael Mattis Collection
Michael and Judy will display and discuss fine examples of their 19th-century photography holdings illustrating a variety of processes, from cased images to calotypes and albumen prints, including Gustave LeGray, Charles Nègre, Nadar, Etienne-Jules Marey, William Henry Fox Talbot, Roger Fenton, and Julia Margaret Cameron.
It will take about 40 minutes by bus to get to their house. The bus is tentatively scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. and return by 3 p.m.
Qing Dynasty Peking: Thomas Child’s Photographs
Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College
Please see previous notes and address for the location for the 12 p.m. tour.
All tours are limited to the number of people who can attend. We will try to be as democratic as possible on a first come, first served basis. However, to be fair to all attendees we may have to bump some people so that we can include as many as possible on tours. Please contact Michael Lehr at Michael@michaellehr. com or Diane Filippi at email@example.com to sign up for tours.
2016 19th-Century Photography Show
Conference attendees’ badges will also get them in early at 9:15 am into the 19th-Century Photography Show on Saturday. Normally the Early Bird rate for the show is $50, but Conference attendees get in free. This is the largest for-sale exhibition of 19th-century photography ever with over 110 tables and 15 exhibit booths with over 100 exhibitors, including most of the top 19th-century photographer dealers and galleries in the world from ten countries. This one-day event will be open from 9:15 am to 4:15 p.m.
19th-century Photography Show Exhibitors (As of 9/14/2016)
19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop
Charles Schwartz, Ltd.
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs
Howard Greenberg Gallery
James Hyman Photography
Janet Lehr Inc
Peter Fetterman Gallery
Vintage Works, Ltd.
Northern Light (Andrew Daneman)
Andrew Smith Gallery
BFA Gallery (Scott Brasseur)
The 3d Man (Bryan and Page Ginns)
Carl Mautz Vintage Photography
Fine Daguerreotypes (Casey Waters)
Charles Wood Bookseller
Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs
Helios Gallery (David Chow)
David Thompson Antiques & Art
Winter Works On Paper
Fine Daguerreotypes (Dennis Waters)
Don Camera Travel Photos
Liz Murray Reynolds Images
Erin Waters Fine Photography
Gary Edwards Photography
Pump Park Vintage Photography (James Kerr)
Jeffrey Kraus Antique Photographics
Allsworth Rare Books (Jenny Allsworth)
Perfect Likeness (John Boring)
Moderndags (John Hurlock)
Julian Wolff Photographica
Lisa Tao Photos
Medhurst & Co.
Galerie Lumière des Roses
Robert Koch Gallery
Roland Belgrave Vintage Photography Ltd.
Serge Kakou, Paris
House of Mirth
Dr. Stanley Burns
Stephen Daiter Gallery
Steven Kasher Gallery
William Becker and Thomas Harris Partnership
Traditionally the Society offers its exhibitors the opportunity to preview their wares the night before the 19th-Century Photography Show, during the Friday night Room-Hop. Dealers can list themselves and their room numbers with Diane Filippi during registration for this event, and get a door sign to post that it is OK to knock and come in and visit. Only dealers in the show are allowed to list their rooms with the Society.
The Room-Hop will be on Friday night from 10 p.m. until midnight for all those who would like to participate as exhibitors and as early buyers.
Annual Cocktail Party/Banquet
Following the 19th-Century Photography Show and on the evening of Saturday, October 22nd, the Society will have its annual cocktail party and banquet, followed by the Society’s live auction. The cocktail party will be held in the mezzanine exhibit booth area and in the Foyer and Crystal Ballrooms. The items in the auction will be viewable during the entire day on Saturday, including the cocktail hour, in the Crystal Ballroom. The buffet banquet itself will be held in the Grand Ballroom, followed by the live auction.
Annual Live and Internet Auction
This year’s auction will also be held on the evening of Saturday, October 22nd, immediately following the banquet dinner. This year marks the first time that bidders will be able to use the Internet to bid live against the floor bidders. The Daguerreian Society expects to have many top collectors, dealers and curators in attendance, so the bidding should be fierce for some very good photography items.
How to Join and/or Register for the Programs
For more information on membership in the Society and this year’s 19th-century photography events, just visit www.daguerre.org.
If you want to join as member, you can either do this securely on the website here by credit card, PayPal, or electronic check, or call Diane Filippi at 1-412-221-0306 (M, Tu, or , from 9–5 p.m. EST). To simply register for the Conference, do that here. Or print and fill out the form available in PDF here and return it to: The Daguerreian Society, PO Box 306, Cecil, PA 15321.
Current company and individual sponsors for this year’s conference and for the pre-conference symposium include:
|Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers
ACM Services/Sarah Morthland Appraiser
Gawain Weaver Conservation
I Photo Central
Vintage Works, Ltd.
19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop
Penelope Dixon & Associates
USFotoFairs, L.L.C. and the New York Photo Show