Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs Portraits

Paris Photo
Stand C17, Grand Palais
Paris, France
9-12 November 2017

An exhibition of portraiture spanning the history of photography from 1845 to 2012 will be exhibited by Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo from 9-12 November 2017. The exhibition, Portraits, will feature the work of Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Hill & Adamson, Charles Nègre, Gertrude Käsebier, Vera Lutter, and Adam Fuss, among others.

A young girl, Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin, fixes the viewer with her direct stare in an 1873 albumen print by Lewis Carroll, best known as the author of Alice in Wonderland. Xie’s father, a mathematician and classicist, was a close friend of Carroll’s at Oxford, but it is to her mother that the roots of this image can be traced. Maud Alice Taylor, the daughter of the British consul to Denmark, was a childhood friend of Princess Alexandra of Denmark who was to become the Princess of Wales. Xie was named after the Princess. Carroll (1832-1898) once declared the key to obtaining excellence in a photograph was simply to “take a lens and put Xie before it.” This is the only known untrimmed print from the negative.

One of the great portraitists in the history of photography, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) is represented by her signature profile, Julia Jackson (Mrs. Herbert Duckworth)from 1867. Julia Jackson was Cameron’s niece and goddaughter, and she was a frequent sitter for her aunt throughout her life. Julia Jackson was the mother of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. This albumen print, from the collection of the Fauvist André Derain, was the inspiration for his 1920 painting Portrait of an Englishwoman, now in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Among the earliest photographers to exploit both the artistic and documentary potential of the portrait, D. O. Hill & Robert Adamson (1802-1870 & 1821-1848) made a survey of contemporary life in the picturesque fishing village of Newhaven, just outside Edinburgh. In Jeanie Wilson and Annie Linton, an 1845 salt print from a calotype negative in the series, the photographers saw that the true character and beauty of the fishwives was intimately connected to their way of life and the precarious nature of their ties to the hard-working fishermen, often absent at sea and from this photograph, with whom their lives were closely aligned. The traditional dress of the fisherwomen lends itself particularly well to the calotype medium. Hill & Adamson’s skillful deployment of light and shade and their positioning of the sitters just short of self-consciousness is a fine example of early portraiture and a sought after example of their work.

Also on display is The children of actress Rachel with a young girl and dog, Auteuil by Charles Nègre (1820-1880). The most famous actress in mid-19th century France was Élisabeth Rachel Felix, known simply as “Rachel.” In autumn 1853, she hired Nègre to take her portrait. He took several photographs of Rachel and of her immediate family. Nègre’s hand-colored salt print portrays the sons of Rachel accompanied by an unidentified young girl and dog on the grounds of an Auteuil mansion in Paris. Dressed in a comic costume reminiscent of the famous mime Pierrot, the young man standing on the right is Alexandre Antoine Colonna-Walewski. Alexandre was the son of Rachel and the Count Colonna-Walewski, the Polish and French politician and the first Napoleon’s illegitimate son. Embracing the dog is his half-brother Gabriel Victor Félix, Rachel’s son by the socialite Arthur Bertrand. Nègre used a modified combination lens to make the wet collodion on glass negative. His skill in retouching is evident in this hand-colored print, where subtle greens, pinks, tans, and grays are burnished into the print’s fibrous structure. The only known example of hand-coloring in Nègre’s oeuvre, this salt print exhibits the painter’s sense of natural color alongside the photographer’s experimentation with technique and knowledge of classical composition.

In 1905, the opening exhibition of Alfred Stieglitz’s Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, or 291 (so named for its Fifth Avenue address), included a print of Happy Days, 1903. A playful composition by Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) exemplifying her artistry in portraying childhood in a naturalistic and informal manner, this rare platinum print shows the hand-crafted quality most sought after by the Photo-Secessionists.

The exhibition also includes work by other 19th century masters such as Giacomo Caneva, Nadar, Vallou de Villeneuve, William Henry Fox Talbot, and 20th century luminaries such as Eugène Atget, Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams, and Weegee, and the acclaimed contemporary photographers, Adam Fuss and Vera Lutter.

Portraits will be exhibited at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, Booth C17 (new location), at Paris Photo, Grand Palais, 9-12 November 2017. The telephone number at the stand is +1 917-273-4609.


Lewis CARROLL (1832-1898)
Xie (Alexandra) Kitchin as a “Dane” 1873
Albumen print from a collodion negative, 21.0 x 16.5 cm