From the category archives:

Photography

John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld) was an important and ground-breaking artist in Germany, known as the inventor of photomontage. He anglicized his name in protest against the anti-British sentiments prevalent in Germany after the First World War. He was a member of Berlin Club Dada, later assisting with the Erste International Dada-Messe exhibition of 1920. His first photomontages were created for publications associated with the Dada movement as well as book jackets for the publishing house run by his brother, Malik-Verlag.

 

Heartfield is called by some the creator of photomontage, and is best known for having helped to pioneer the use of art as a political weapon, primarily through his famous anti-Nazi and anti-fascist photomontages. These collages were not simple combinations of pictures and text, but appropriated and reused photographs to achieve powerful political effects. He chose recognizable photographs of politicians or events from mainstream news sources, and then took apart and rearranged the images to change their meaning and provide a commentary on the current state of the country. His aim was to expose the dangers and abuses of power within the Nazi regime by highlighting their incompetence, greed, and hypocrisy. His most impactful images played with scale and stark juxtaposition to get their point across. His work shadowed and reflected the chaos and agitation present in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as it shifted towards social and political upheaval.

 

Heartfield’s images illustrating these tensions were so powerful that they helped to transform the photomontage into a powerful tool of mass communication. Some of his most impactful works were even mass-produced and distributed as posters in the streets of Berlin between 1932 and the Nazi rise to power in 1933, when the SS broke into Heartfield’s apartment and he was forced to flee Germany. Many of his best-known images were created for and published in the pages of AIZ – Die Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung, an illustrated left-wing worker’s journal published in Berlin, beginning in 1930.

 

Most of his sharpest satire was reserved for Adolf Hitler, parodying his poses, gestures, and symbols associated with the dictator. One such example is this image titled “Adolf, the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk”. Heartfield has overlaid a well-known photograph of the Führer with a chest x-ray and replaced his heart with a swastika. The x-ray reveals coins collecting in his stomach. Heartfield’s image references a cartoon by Honoré Daumier, and alludes to the large contributions that industrialists were making to the Nazi Party in contradiction to its supposed roots in socialism. This image made such an impact that it was reproduced as a political poster in 1932.

 

Another example is “Der Sinn des Hitlergrusses”. Heartfield exaggerates the difference in size between Hitler and the man behind him, handing him money, to comment again on Hitler’s relationship to Germany’s wealthy industrialists, a puppet accepting financial influence and assistance.

 

“The Meaning of Geneva” depicts a white dove, the symbol of peace, impaled on a bayonet, a symbol of modern warfare. In the background is the League of Nations palace, where the Geneva disarmament conference took place in November 1932. The text accompanying the image reads, “Where Capital Lives, There Can Be No Peace!”

 

 

(Heartfield Photomontages) – AIZ. Die Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung. Year X, No. 1 (n.d., 1931) through Year XII, No. 9 (n.d., 1933). 112 total issues of the illustrated left-wing German worker’s journal, published in Berlin from 1924 to March of 1933, and afterward in Prague and then Paris until 1938, anti-Fascist and pro-Communist in stance, published by Communist political activist Willi Münzenberg and best-known for its propagandistic photomontages by John Heartfield, of which 26 are included in this collection, and including coverage of current events, women’s issues, and gender relations, original fiction and poetry, and above all photography, primarily submitted by amateur photographers. Profusely illustrated throughout. Some very minor defects or small repairs, overall excellent condition. Folio. Original illustrated wrpps. Berlin (Neuer Deutscher Verlag) 1931-1933. (48927)

Before AIZ began, a monthly magazine called Sowjet Russland im Bild (Soviet Russia in Pictures) was published by Internationale Arbeiter-Hilfe (Workers International Relief), a group led by Willi Münzenberg. The magazine contained reports about the recently created Russian Soviet state and the IAH, and in 1922 began reporting on the German proletariat. As the paper expanded coverage and attracted prominent contributors such as George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, Maxim Gorki, and George Bernard Shaw, it grew rapidly and reappeared on November 30, 1924 with the new name of AIZ and a new format. Over time it became the most widely read socialist pictorial newspaper in Germany.

The issues included in this collection are: 1931 (Year X): Nos. 1-52; 1932 (Year XI): Nos. 1-52 (lacking no. 49 which was confiscated by the censorship authorities); and 1933 (Year XII): Nos. 1-9 (9 was the final issue published in Berlin after Hitler seized power).

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The 1960s were a tumultuous time in history, both in the United States and around the world. The 1960s saw the Bay of Pigs, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., important strides in the Civil Rights Movement including the Greensboro sit-in and the Selma-to-Montgomery march, student protests and demonstrations, second-wave feminism, and the Vietnam War.

The Black Panther Party (originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) came into existence during those years of political protest and change, being founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton on October 15, 1966. The left-wing organization’s goals were the right to self-defense, better housing, jobs, and education for African Americans in the United States. They were greatly influenced by Malcolm X, and believed that violence or the threat of violence might be needed to help bring about change. Later they added a focus on community social programs including feeding impoverished children and opening community health clinics. However, their earliest activity was often tied up in violence.

Their core practice at the time was armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the activity and behavior of the Oakland Police Department and challenge police brutality. Party members would listen to police calls on a short-wave radio, rush to the scene of the arrest with law books in hand, and inform the person being arrested of their constitutional rights. They carried loaded weapons during these patrols which they displayed publicly, but were careful to not interfere with any arrests.

In 1967, the California legislature passed the Mulford Act, named for one of its authors Don Mulford, which repealed a law allowing the carrying in public of loaded firearms. The bill was written as a response to the Panthers’ armed patrols, which were later called “copwatching”. The media even dubbed it “the Panther Bill”. As a response, on May 2, 1967, the Panthers marched, bearing arms, upon the State Capitol to protest the bill. They carried loaded rifles and shotguns and entered the Capitol to read aloud Executive Mandate Number 1, which was in opposition to the Mulford Act. They tried to enter the Assembly Chamber but were forced out, and so read the mandate out on the lawn. The legislature’s response was to pass the bill, and the protest and media coverage helped catapult the Black Panther Party into the national spotlight and led to a huge growth in membership numbers. F.A. Bernett currently has in its inventory a group of original press photographs taken during this 1967 protest.

Group of Black Panther Press Photographs. Eleven original press photographs documenting the 1967 Sacramento Black Panther Party armed protest against the Mulford Act and the ensuing court case, taken by Walter Zeboski, a former Associated Press photographer, with photographs showing members of the Black Panther Party on the steps of the California State Capitol, protesting inside the Capitol with guns raised, and on trial for felony charges stemming from the armed protest, six with original typed captions, one with hand-written notation to margin. Most sheets 8-1/8 x 11-3/4 in. Original loose photographs, housed in contemporary sheet protectors, some accompanied by original film negatives. N.p. (Sacramento, California) 1967.

Some of the figures identified in the photographs are Assemblyman Don Mulford, who sponsored the bill; Assemblyman Willie L. Brown, Jr.; Beverly Axelrod, a Sacramento attorney representing the Panthers; and Mark Comfort, Huey Newton, and Bobby Seale, Black Panther Party members on trial. (48837)

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The late 19th and early 20th centuries were periods of major change and important historical events throughout the United States, as well as key developments in photography technology. Life could be documented in a way that was never possible before, both physically and economically. Photography allowed for more precise archiving than either lithography or engraving. Roger Fenton and Philip Henry Delamotte were among the first photographers to demonstrate the immense potential photography carried for chronicling important events with their images of the Crimean War and the construction of the Crystal Palace in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Daguerreotypes were introduced in 1839 as the first complete practical photographic process, and remained the most common commercial process until the late 1850s, when the collodion process took over in popularity. This new process produced glass negatives which could be replicated multiple times, unlike the daguerreotype which resulted in a single, unique image. It was also relatively inexpensive compared to daguerreotypes, as the daguerreotype process required expensive polishing equipment and costly silver-plated copper for producing the images. Often printed on albumen paper, the collodion print took two forms, wet and dry, the former which necessitated a darkroom and was more popular with portrait photographers, the latter which required much longer exposure time and therefore was more often limited to landscape photography. Ambrotypes and tintypes are examples of photographs produced via the collodion process.

During the 1880s, gelatin dry plates largely replaced the collodion process. Utilizing glass plates with a dry emulsion of silver suspended in gelatin was more convenient and could also make more sensitive images. The first dry plate factory, the Eastman Film and Dry Plate Company, was established in 1879, a reflection of the popularity of the process. In 1884 Eastman developed dry gel on paper, or film, replacing the photographic plate and with it the necessity of carting around boxes of glass plates and chemicals. And in July 1888 Eastman’s first Kodak camera was put on the market, allowing anyone to take a photograph and let someone else do the processing. Photography went even more mass-market in 1901 with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera.

F.A. Bernett currently has for sale several collections of interesting and important early American photography which correspond to and reflect these important changes and developments in the photographic process and the increasing commercial availability of photography equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collection of 19 Vintage Cabinet Card Views of the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Group of 19 cabinet cards by a local photographer, R.Y. Nice of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, depicting the aftermath of the famous flood and subsequent damage in the town of Williamsport, including Nice’s studio and other local commercial buildings partially underwater, townspeople navigating the streets in rowboats, birds-eye views, and scenes of destruction and debris, some with captions incised into the negatives. Cabinet cards with mounted albumen prints measuring 4″ x 6 1/4″, numbered 2 through 20 in the lower left corners, some with Nice’s name printed on the mount. Williamsport, Pennsylvania 1889.

The Johnstown Flood was the worst flood to hit the United States in the 19th century, causing the deaths of 2,209 people and the destruction of 1,600 homes. It was the largest loss of civilian life the United States had seen up to that point. The flood was one of the first major disaster relief efforts to be handled by the newly-founded American Red Cross, under the leadership of Clara Barton. (48214)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mather’s Historical Oil Region Views of Western Pennsylvania. Part I. Mather’s Historical Photographs. Mather, John A. 14 leaves, 2 pages of text, 1 engraving, and 11 original gelatin linen-backed photographs regarding the drilling of the Drake Well by Col. Edwin L. Drake in 1859, the first oil well ever drilled in the United States, scenes and figures depicted in the photographs include a portrait of Edwin Drake, Drake at the well, oil traders, and the surrounding areas of “Oil Creek” including Foster Farm, Funkville, John Wait Farm, and John Benninghoff Run. Spine slightly shaken. Oblong 4to. Black cloth boards. Titusville, Pennsylvania (John A. Mather) 1895. Ink inscription on front endpaper “Miss Margaret Bond from Mrs E. Mather, Christmas 1905”

Edwin Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company in 1858 to investigate suspected oil deposits in the Titusville region of Pennsylvania. Prior to this, petroleum oil was known of, but there was not yet a market for it. Drake began drilling, with pipe and steam, but progress was slow and the Seneca Oil Company had pulled their backing. Using his own money and that of friends, Drake persevered and on the morning of August 28th, after months of drilling at the rate of approximately three feet per day, Drake’s driller looked into the hole and saw crude oil. The Drake Well prompted the first big investments in the petroleum industry and additional drilling in the area that became known as Oil Creek, ushering in the Pennsylvania oil rush.

John A. Mather was the pioneer photographer of Pennsylvania’s Oil Region. Hearing of the exploding activity in the Oil Creek Valley, Mather and his wife moved to Titusville in 1860 where he began working with a series of makeshift traveling darkrooms/studios. He transported his equipment through the oil fields by ox-pulled wagon or flatboat, and sold his photographs to a local audience. During his years photographing the Pennsylvania oil rush, he amassed a collection of over 20,000 glass plate negatives. However, due to damage from floods and fires, only 5,000 have survived to this day, preserved in the collections of the Drake Well Museum. Scarce; as of February 2017, WorldCat locates only three holdings in North America. (48619)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph Album Documenting the Aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Collection of approximately 99 original black-and-white photographs showing the destruction caused by the earthquake and resulting fires, and the subsequent clean-up and reconstruction efforts, most pages with hand-written captions, with specific sites depicted including the Ferry Building, Market Street, burning buildings, refugee camps, City Hall, the Hearst Building, the Palace Hotel, gutted churches, rubble, and relocated shops, some photos with signature for R.J. Waters & Co. and caption within the plate, label affixed to inside front cover for Waters Company, San Francisco. Photos overall in very good condition. Various sizes to 8″ x 10″. Photos affixed to album leaves with photo corners and small dots of glue, many photos already loose, all pages detached from album. Oblong 4to. Cloth album. San Francisco (R.J. Waters & Co.) circa 1906.

The 1906 earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 am on April 18th, with a magnitude of 7.8. Over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed as a result of the quake and the subsequent fires, with 30 different fires destroying 25,000 buildings across 490 city blocks within three days. An estimated 3,000 people died. Initially only 375 deaths were reported, due in part to hundreds of ignored and unreported fatalities in Chinatown. To this day, it is still the deadliest natural disaster in California’s history. Up to 300,000 people were also left homeless out of a total population of 410,000, with some refugee camps remaining open for over two years. (48636)

  

 

 

 

 

 

Collection of Original Photographs of Alaska. Album comprising approximately 500 original photographs of various formats, the majority taken in and around the copper mining town of Kennecott, Alaska, during its heyday in the 1920s, including the Bonanza, Jumbo, and Erie mines, nearby towns such as Cordova, McCarthy, and Ruby, hunting and skiing trips, dogsledding, Eskimos, railroads, the Childs, Columbia, and Kennicott glaciers, and steamships, with 21 most likely unpublished photographs captioned “Mt Logan Alaska 1925 – June / Guided by Andy Taylor, Famous Alaskan Guide” being of particular interest, depicting the first successful expedition to the summit of Mt. Logan in the Yukon Territory, Canada’s highest peak, with photographs showing the team setting up camp, loading their sleds, and trekking, together with several pieces of ephemera including a telegram, a Pacific Line steamship catalog, and a newspaper clipping. Original album disbound and trimmed to fit, with original album pages and hand-written captions intact, some original photo corners replaced. Small folio. Housed in two contemporary albums. N.p. (Kennecott, Alaska), circa 1920s.

A geologist first approached the Alpine Club of Canada in 1922 with the idea of sending a team to summit Mt. Logan. A team of Canadian, British, and American climbers was assembled, and their trip was delayed from 1924 to 1925 due to delays in funding and preparation. They began their trip in early May, journeying from the Pacific coast by train, and then traversed the remaining 120 miles on foot to the Logan Glacier, where they established base camp. On June 23, 1925, the team of Albert H. MacCarthy, H.F. Lambart, Allen Carpé, W.W. Foster, Norman H. Read, and Andy Taylor became the first people to stand atop the summit of Mt. Logan.

The Kennecott Mines were discovered around the turn of the century, and confirmed as the richest known concentration of copper in the world at the time in 1901. Five different mines turned out incredible amounts of copper, at their peak generating $32.4 million worth of ore in a single year. The highest grades of ore were largely depleted by the early 1930s, with the mines closing gradually. The last train left Kennecott on November 10, 1938, leaving it a ghost town. In the 1980’s, the town became a tourist destination, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.  (48621)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Picture Journey to Farms in Idaho, Washington, Oregon. Spokane, Washington.- Pacific Northwest Farm Trio. 62 pp. promotional photo album containing 72 mounted silver gelatin photographs of farms, orchards, crops, and related agricultural activities from farms throughout the Pacific Northwest, each page with a typed descriptive caption below the photo, some of the photographs signed within the negative, known photographers include Asahel Curtis, Bradbury Williams, and Arthur Prentiss. One of the photographs coming loose, several pages with small tears to margins, some minor warping and toning of pages. Oblong 8vo. Leather. Some bowing to covers, rubbing and small losses along extremities, small splits at spine. Spokane, Washington (Pacific Northwest Farm Trio General Offices) n.d. (circa 1930).

The Pacific Northwest Farm Trio comprised the publications The Washington Farmer, The Idaho Farmer, and The Oregon Farmer. The views depicted in this album include apple farms in Washington, the Hood River Valley, the Willamette Valley, the Yakima Valley, tractors and farm machinery, harvesting and packing apples, planting wheat, cows on a dairy farm, sheep, chickens, turkeys, Arrowrock Dam, irrigation, vegetables, strawberry plants, and orchards. Very scarce; as of March 2017, this title is not listed through WorldCat. (48654)

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Printer’s Archive for the Official Program of the Democratic National Convention of 1936.

June 30, 2016

A complete archive of the original artwork, photographs, advertisements, and fully edited and corrected typewritten essays which comprise the official guide to the 1936 Democratic National Convention, held in Philadelphia: including 41 original pen and ink drawings by Lyle Justis used as vignettes and illustrations throughout the text; over 200 original photographs, most with identification […]

Anni di piombo. The Lead Years, 1968-1982.

Thumbnail image for Anni di piombo. The Lead Years, 1968-1982. August 11, 2014

“Anni di piombo” (“The Lead Years”) has little nostalgic resonance in the US. Unlike “Mai ‘68”, which instantly evokes exhilarating scenes of French student occupations, demonstrations, police brutality, wildcat strikes, riots, and barricades. (And perhaps some fervent threesomes if you made it through Bertolucci’s The Dreamers.) While Mai ‘68 appears retrospectively as both the unfulfilled […]

Contest of Realism. Novyi Lef.

Thumbnail image for Contest of Realism. Novyi Lef. March 11, 2014

Novyi Lef. Zhurnal Levogo Fronta Iskusstv. Year 1, No. 1 (January 1927) through Year 2, No. 12 (December 1928) (all published). 24 issues, published in 22 vols. as issued, comprising a complete first edition of the Soviet avant-garde monthly designed by Alexandr Rodchenko under the editorial direction of Vladimir Mayakovsky, followed by Sergei Tret’iakov, each […]

This Invitation Cannot Be Sold or Transferred.

Thumbnail image for This Invitation Cannot Be Sold or Transferred. January 21, 2014

Collection of Invitations, Programs, Flyers, Posters, Broadsides and other Ephemeral Items pertaining to the Palladium nightclub, June 1985 – May 1987. ca. 170 items ranging from single sheet to folding invitations, pop ups, and physical objects, executed in print processes including letterpress, stencil, silk screen, and off-set lithography, most in vibrant color. Items ranging in […]

Dreaming in Dirigibles: The Airship Postcard Albums of Lord Ventry.

Thumbnail image for Dreaming in Dirigibles: The Airship Postcard Albums of Lord Ventry. July 26, 2012

Collection of 548 postcard prints and original photographs depicting airships, dirigibles and zeppelins, ca. 1890 to 1960. Most images 3 x 5 in. or 4 x 6 in., housed in period 4to and tall 4to boards albums, one with spine partially detached.  N.p (United Kingdom?), N.d. (ca. 1890 to 1960).  (47267) The golden age of […]

“Le degré de perfection des productions de l’imprimerie d’un pays est une des marques de son degré de civilisation.” Printing in Japan, ca. 1915.

Thumbnail image for “Le degré de perfection des productions de l’imprimerie d’un pays est une des marques de son degré de civilisation.” Printing in Japan, ca. 1915. April 4, 2011

Sawada, Yozo. Insatsu Taikan (Great Atlas of Printing).  Unpaginated album.  Sm. folio.  Silk-covered boards, tie-bound.  Osaka (Nihon Insatsu Kaisha) 1915.  [46467] Following the death of his father, the Meiji Emperor, on July 30, 1912, Crown Prince Yoshihito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan to become the Taishō Emperor. After three years of Imperial preparations, […]

Both Sides of Broadway, Then and Now

Thumbnail image for Both Sides of Broadway, Then and Now March 18, 2011

De Leeuw, Rudolph M.  Both Sides of Broadway, from Bowling Green to Central Park, New York City.   New York City (The De Leeuw Riehl Pub. Co.) 1910.  [46491] In 1910, author-publisher-photographer Rudolph M. De Leeuw realized his entrepreneurial ambition of publishing a building-by-building sequential photographic survey of the most famous street in America.  Both […]

Deadly Nightshade

Thumbnail image for Deadly Nightshade October 31, 2009

Vries, Herman de.   Belladonna: A Film by Herman de Vries, BB Grögel, Susanne Jacob, Steve Leistner, Vince de Vries. Eindhoven, Germany (Edition Apollnius) 1983. [45760] Dutch-born artist Herman de Vries is responsible for this particularly witchy addition to our inventory, Belladonna: A Film, a limited edition (35 copies) handmade artist’s book produced in connection with […]