Lot Details

This vintage photochrom is in excellent overall condition. Typical of similar prints from the late 19th century, there are minor, scattered handling creases, primarily visible in raking light. Excellent, rich impression with a lustrous surface.

Christopher Cardozo Fine Art is pleased to offer, a unique selection of European and indian panoramic and mammoth photochroms, dating from the late 1800’s. Our archive of these rare, over-sized prints includes photographs of Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Morocco, Italy, India, Austria and Belgium. They range in size from 6.5” x 17.5” to 16.5”x20.5”. These unusual, stunning color photographs offer a unique glimpse into the rich and varied aspects of European and Indian life in the late 1800s. Photochroms are an historically and aesthetically important link to the very earliest days of color photography. They have been collected internationally by both private collectors and museums. Photochroms have been the subject of many recent publications, as well as major exhibitions in Paris, Geneva, and Zurich. A major, new publication by Taschen is scheduled for release in Spring, 2014.
The prints being offered here are in exceptional condition and are from the world’s largest photochrom archive, which has been held intact for over one hundred and fifteen years.
In 1889, these brilliantly colored photographic prints, made by Zurich-based Orel Fussli & Co., won a gold medal at the World Exposition in Paris. To a public familiar only with black & white photographs, these full-color prints were astounding in their beauty and realism and they triggered strong interest among collectors at the time. Unfortunately, very few photochroms survive of any given image and even fewer survive in excellent overall condition. Given the condition, provenance, rarity and importance of these photochroms, this represents an unusual opportunity to acquire these important, beautiful vintage photographs.
The Photochrom process is distinct from all other color photography. The process used high quality color inks which were laid down on paper using four to twelve lithographic stones per print, with each stone weighing as much as 65 pounds. A final varnish coat gave each print a lustrous patina and added depth and richness. Thus a beautiful hand-colored quality was achieved. Photochroms were the first commercially available form of color photography and as such have a special historical importance. This is evidenced by the fact that a major Spanish museum, the Reina Sofia, recently purchased an extensive collection of over eighty photochroms for its permanent collection, and photochroms are also found in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum and numerous other public and private collections.
This complex, patented process, the exact details of which are still unknown, set the standard for color photography at the time. Unfortunately, the process required an extraordinary amount of time, highly skilled labor and money and by the 1920s; the process was abandoned because of the great expense and the significant logistical challenges it entailed.

The gallery retail for this photograph is: $2,000.

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The seller has recorded the following condition for this lot:
Area: Image
Location: Overall
Notes: This vintage photochrom is in excellent overall condition. Typical of similar prints from the late 19th century, there are minor, scattered handling creases, primarily visible in raking light. Excellent, rich impression with a lustrous surface.
Degree: Minor

Definition Key
Image The central image area, composition, or focal point; the area inside the margins/plate marks.
Margin Areas bordering the central image, outside the plate marks, or the perimeter area.
Edge The farthest edge of the object.
Verso The reverse/back of the object.

Minor An existing condition which generally does not involve risk of loss.
Moderate Noticeable damage, increasing in severity and/or size; should be monitored or corrected by a conservator.
Major Distinct, recognizable damage; the stability of the work is questionable and risk is a factor. Requires the attention of a conservator.
Extreme Advanced and severe damage; work is insecure and at great risk.

  • Orell Fussli & Co.(Photoglob, Switzerland) to Detroit Photographic Co.(North America) to F.J. Haynes & family to Christopher G. Cardozo(current owner) This is an archive that has been intact since the early 1900's. It is the only sizeable collection of photochroms known to exist.
  • Pickup Location: Minnesota, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 7 x 26.6 in. (17.78 x 67.56 cm.)
Accepted: Wire Transfer
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