WASHINGTON (Feb. 23, 2010)—Building on the success of its first exhibition at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery, National Geographic will delve into its 11.5 million-image archive for a second exhibition, “Autochromes: Early Color Masterpieces from National Geographic,” a rare display of one of the earliest forms of color photography. Scheduled to run May 27-July 10, 2010, the show will feature fine art prints of more than 60 autochromes, spanning a 30-year period.
Glass plates coated with emulsion and pigmented potato starch, autochromes were an astounding technical advance when France’s Auguste and Louis Lumière perfected this new color process in 1907. Largely used for landscapes, still lifes and posed portraits, this revolutionary technique was used by the finest photographers of the day to document an entirely new world to viewers — a world in color. The first natural-color photograph appeared in National Geographic magazine in July 1914. Today, the Society houses nearly 15,000 glass plates in its archive — one of the largest collections in the world.
“Autochromes: Early Color Masterpieces from National Geographic” features work by men whose names are unknown today, but who were the most famous photographers of their day, including Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, the French master of portraiture, and Hans Hildenbrand, hired by the German kaiser to document World War I in color. Also represented in the exhibit are Franklin Price Knott and Gustav Heurlin, among others.
“There are so many rare, valuable images that exist within National Geographic’s image collection, but among all of our images, we consider our autochrome collection to be among the most special,” said Maura Mulvihill, vice president and director of the Image Collection for National Geographic. “The images that have been chosen for the ‘Early Color Masterpieces’ exhibit are significant not just for their intrinsic beauty, but also for their significance to the photography medium.”
Limited-edition prints will be available for purchase for public and private collections through Steven Kasher Gallery, New York. National Geographic will retain the original glass plates along with the digital and publication rights for future use.
“Autochromes: Early Color Masterpieces from National Geographic,” will run concurrently with “1.3: New Color Work by Joel Grey,” an exhibition of cellular phone photography by the award-winning actor and photographer Joel Grey, on display from May 27 to July 10, 2010. The simultaneous shows will juxtapose one of the newest forms of color photography with one of the earliest and serve to highlight their surprising similarities.
Steven Kasher is National Geographic’s representative in the fine art market and an exclusive partner for four exhibitions of selected images from the Society’s Image Collection. The first collection, “The World in Black and White: Vintage Prints from the National Geographic Archive,” was exhibited in fall 2009.
Additional exhibitions are being planned for fall 2010 and will be curated by Steven Kasher and National Geographic. For more information on Steven Kasher Gallery, visit stevenkasher.com.
Selected images from the “Early Color Masterpieces” exhibit are available for download at http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/image_collection_kasher.
username: press | password: press
About the National Geographic Image Collection
The National Geographic Image Collection, based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., houses more than 11.5 million images from National Geographic staff and freelance photographers, including rare and never-before-seen photographs and illustrations. Specializing in the subjects of people, cultures, natural history, science, the environment and the natural world, the Image Collection is one of the foremost repositories of social documentation from the late 19th century through the 21st century. For information on image sales, call (800) 434-2244, email email@example.com or visit ngsimages.com.
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 375 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,200 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.