Impression of the High Sierras
"Impression of the High Sierras" a Lithobrome Photograph by Sigismund Blumann (American, 1872-1956). Signed "Sigismund Blumann" lower right. Titled "Impression ... more"Impression of the High Sierras" a Lithobrome Photograph by Sigismund Blumann (American, 1872-1956). Signed "Sigismund Blumann" lower right. Titled "Impression of the High Sierras" and signed "Sigismund Blumann" on verso. Unframed. Image size, 10.25"H x 13.25"W. Sigismund Blumann (1872–1956) (figure 1) was a prominent tastemaker in Californian photography during the 1920s and 1930s. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area for his entire career, he edited magazines, wrote books, and made creative photographs. From 1924 to 1933 Blumann edited Camera Craft, the leading West Coast photographic monthly. Subsequently he established his own periodical, Photo Art Monthly, which he published until 1940. In these two magazines — for over fifteen years — Blumann found a large audience of mainstream pictorial photographers. In addition, he wrote five instructional books on photography, providing a substantial amount of technical information for committed picturemakers. During the 1920s, Blumann also made accomplished pictorial photographs of his own, concentrating on landscape work. In August 1924, Blumann was appointed editor of San Francisco’s Camera Craft (begun in 1900) and, at fifty-two years of age, began working in photography full time. He continued most of its regular columns, covering professional photographers, camera clubs, technique, and amateur troubles. Blumann was the magazine’s most prolific author during his nine-year tenure, writing nearly 130 signed articles and, presumably, most of the unsigned ones. The magazine included his monthly editorials, reviews of books and exhibitions, and feature articles on the laws of art, different processes, the difficulty of nude subjects, and pictorialists such as Léonard Misonne and William Mortensen. Blumann paid attention to professional photographers by running profiles on them, covering activities of their national and regional organizations, and addressing specific topics like advertising photography. And he consistently maintained a populist and positive attitude, running monthly competitions and including many of his own poems. Blumann edited his last issue of Camera Craft in August 1933, but within a few months had started up his own periodical, Photo-Art Monthly. With the help of only one assistant, he ran this magazine for the next seven years, carrying a very heavy load of writing and editing. The most notable changes were more attention to "artistic" photography (as suggested by the title), less coverage of professional photography, and increased anti-modernist attitudes. In 1937, Blumann opened a gallery in the magazine’s offices, providing an exhibition venue unique in the country, where both group and one-person shows of about one hundred photographs were presented. Somehow Blumann found the time while he was an editor to write five manuals on photographic technique. Camera Craft published the first one in 1927—his Photographic Workroom Handbook, that went into four editions and sold over 60,000 copies. In the 1930s, he self-published a reworking of this title plus books on enlarging, toning, and photographic greeting cards. Claiming that his calling was as a critic, Blumann downplayed his own ability as a photographer, yet he achieved modest success as a pictorialist. He enjoyed being outdoors with his camera and turned it primarily on the natural environs of Oakland and California’s state parks and national forests. Reproductions of his work appeared in Camera Craft (both before and during his editorship), Photo-Art Monthly, and the American Annual of Photography 1927. Between 1923 and 1932, his pictures were accepted at photographic salons in Amsterdam, Toronto, Rochester, Seattle, and Los Angeles. In 1927, a one-person exhibition of his bromoil prints traveled to camera clubs in Chicago, Akron, Cincinnati, and New York. In addition to bromoil, a process that yields pointillistic images, Blumann utilized such unusual processes as kallitype (Vandyke brown), lithobrome, and pastelograph (the latter two probably his own inventions). In 1933, he was a charter member of the Photographic Society of America and received fellowship status from the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS). Sigismund Blumann’s last known photographic appearance was in the December 1943 issue of Popular Science, for which he wrote an illustrated an article on toning black-and-white prints. less
- 20ʺW × 1ʺD × 16ʺH
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, Some Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- Excellent - Age toning to mat and minor wear consistent with age and history Excellent - Age toning to mat and minor wear consistent with age and history less
- Place of Origin
- United States of America
- Silver Gelatin
- Art Subject
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Robert Azensky Fine Art in Soquel, CA
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