our gratitude to Anne McCauley, David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art, Princeton University, who visited Worcester in spring 2015, and encouraged us to re-examine Jean simpson in Profile’s designation as a carbro print.
our gratitude to Paul Messier, Head of the lens Media lab, institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, yale University and President and Head Conservator, Paul Messier llC, for his assistance analyzing Jean simpson in Profile, and in particular, for suggesting that the slight sheen and fine craquelure pattern observed likely was the result of the print being made on Japine paper rather than the presence of an additional coating or process. in her essay, “Noble Metals for the Early Modern Era: Platinum, silver-Platinum, and Palladium Prints,” Constance McCabe writes that the Platinotype Company described Japine paper in one advertisement as providing “half glossy ‘egg shell’ surface met in some carbon prints.” it was perhaps this surface quality that led previous WAM curators to identify Jean simpson in Profile as a carbro print. Constance McCabe, “Noble Metals for the Early Modern Era: Platinum, silver-Platinum, and Palladium Prints,” in Mitra Abbaspour, lee Ann Daffner, and Maria Morris Hambourg, eds., object: Photo. Modern Photographs: the thomas Walther Collection 1909–1949. An online Project of the Museum of Modern Art (New york: the Museum of Modern Art, 2014), http://www.moma.org/interactives/objectphoto/assets/ essays/McCabe.pdf. the analytical work on Japine paper by Ms. McCabe and her colleagues is discussed in: Matthew l. Clarke, Constance McCabe, and Christopher Maines, “Unraveling the modified surface of the photographic paper ‘Japine,’” Analytical Methods 6 (2014): 147–155.
A carbro print is made by layering two to three sheets of carbon tissue on a substrate. Each carbon tissue is pigmented and deposits a colored gelatin onto the surface. the image is formed by a chemical reaction between the silver of the bromide print and the pigmented tissue.
Both the smithsonian American Art and Worcester Jean simpson pictures extend to the edges of the sheet and are similar in dimension: 24.8 cm x 19.7 cm (smithsonian) and 25.3 cm x 20.1 cm (Worcester).
Although it bears a different title, it is likely steichen is referring here to Moonrise, Mamaroneck, New york from 1904 in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New york. in MoMA Highlights: 350 Works from the Museum of Modern Art, New york, the photograph is described as having “reeds and grasses in the foreground” sketched by the artist, which would explain steichen’s reference to “greenish gum” in his letter to Alfred stieglitz cited above. Museum of Modern Art, New york, MoMA Highlights: 350 Works from the Museum of Modern Art, New york (New york: the Museum of Modern Art, 2013): 38.
Cited in Dennis longfellow, steichen: the Master Prints 1895–1914 (New york: the Museum of Modern Art, 1978): 17. longfellow indicates that the initial source of the letter came from leaf 54 of the Alfred stieglitz Archive, the Beinecke rare Book and Manuscript library, yale University.
Published on Feb 10, 2016
Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period Edited by Nancy Kathryn Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Kristina Wilson...