Lot Number 40
Year Published 1839
Place Printed
Printed By
Description unique photogenic drawing negative, with date 'March 21' in pencil on the image, tipped at four corners to a paper mount, 1839 (Schaaf 3661) 8¾ by 6¾ in. (22.2 by 17.1 cm.)
Comments This unique photogenic drawing has been attributed to Nicolaas Henneman by Larry J. Schaaf, the foremost authority on photography's formative years and on William Henry Fox Talbot and his circle. Working alongside Talbot, Henneman was an important figure in photography's invention. He was also the proprietor, starting in 1844, of what was essentially the first photographic studio, which he opened in the railroad town of Reading, between Talbot's homeof Lacock Abbey and London. It became known as the Reading Establishment, and Talbot was a frequent visitor at the premises at 8 Russell Terrace. The Dutch-born Henneman had worked in Paris for a diplomat in the 1830s, and started in Talbot's employ as a servant, becoming Talbot's valet in 1838. From that time, Henneman was Talbot's near-constant companion and became ever more deeply involved in his employer's photographic work. According to Schaaf, the two men essentially became partners in their work with photo-sensitive materials (cf. Out of the Shadows, p. 140), and Henneman was responsible for his own share of innovations in these early days of the medium's history. The photograph offered here was made by Hennemen while in Talbot's employ. Schaaf makes this attribution based upon the handwriting on the image --'March 21'--which is in Henneman's hand. Based upon the appearance of the image, its execution and presentation, it was almost certainly made in 1839, according to Schaaf. Talbot's correspondence from 1839 shows that he was in London in March of 1839: a letter from Talbot to Sir John Hershel, written on 21 March, places him in London on the day this image was made. This photograph was thus almost certainly created by Henneman, who typically carried on his employer's work while he was away from Lacock Abbey. Henneman created the photogenic drawing offered here by placing a configuration of leaves directly on paper sensitized with salt and silver nitrate, and then placing it in sunlight. The leaves effectively blocked the sunlight from reaching the paper during exposure, and these areas are consequently lighter. The surrounding areas, which received full exposure to sunlight, are darker in tonality. As with the previous lot, the photogram image would have become visible during the exposure, allowing Henneman the opportunity to monitor its progress and terminate the exposure at the desired time. (Interestingly, it was the emergence of the image during exposure that Moholy-Nagy would later exploit in the 20 th century with his first photograms, cf. Lot 112). Schaaf has examined this photogenic drawing and has issued it the number 3661 in his catalogue raisonné of Talbot and his circle. Photographs
Provenance Acquired by the present owner in 1972
Estimated Price USD 20,000.00 - 30,000.00
Actual Price USD 116,500.00



Auction House Sothebys
Website http://www.sothebys.com/
Auction Name Photographs
Sale Number #N08841
Auction Date April 3, 2012 - April 3, 2012
Book Images