Karl Blossfeldt Photos

Original prints, c. 1942

Explanation and Bio

Karl Blossfeldt’s training began with the study of industrial arts and design at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. In 1890, along with five other students, Blossfeldt received a scholarship to work in Rome with one of the instructors, Mortiz Meurer. Meurer assigned him the job of casting models of botanical specimens, ultimately to be used by industrial craftsmen and manufacturers. In addition, the group photographed plants based on a method developed by Meurer. Blossfeldt acquired a keen interest and special talent in this task and continued to photograph plants for the remainder of his career.

Blossfeldt was eventually hired at the Kunstgewerbeschule as an assistant teacher and assistant director for modeling from plants. (During this time of the German arts and crafts movement, this was considered an important field.) He taught there for 31 years, and became Professor Emeritus in 1930. Blossfeldt used his plant photographs to demonstrate to students that the best engineering solutions for industrial design had already been anticipated in nature. His theories never really caught on.

In 1925 the photographs caught the attention of Karl Nierendorf, a banker and collector versed in Dada, Precisionism and Constructivism. Partly due to this interest in the photographs as “art,” Blossfeldt began to exhibit his works in shows and in 1928 his first book was published. The book, Urformen der Kunst, (Art Forms in Nature) was edited by Nierendorf and published by Ernst Wasmuth. The book quickly went into successive editions and was followed by additional publications including Wundergarten in der Natur (Magic Garden of Nature) in 1932 and Wunder in der Natur (Magic in Nature) in 1942.

The photogravure printing process was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the time, it was the finest photomechanical means for reproducing a photograph in large editions. A descendent from the printmaking process of etching, photogravures utilize a copper plate. A transparent positive of the photographic negative is created and after several stages involving potassium bichromate, exposure to light, acid etc., the etched plate is ready. The result provides an almost velvety appearance to the image.

Karl Blossfeldt died December 3, 1932, in Berlin.

Karl Blossfeldt 059

#59 Karl Blossfeldt
Henbane, seed capsule

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 060

#60 Karl Blossfeldt
Anemone, windflower, flower

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 061

#61 Karl Blossfeldt
Canterbury bell

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 062

#62 Karl Blossfeldt
Conical silene, seed capsule

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 063

#63 Karl Blossfeldt
Roof houseleek, flower bud

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 064

#64 Karl Blossfeldt
Mallow family, seed capsules

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 065

#65 Karl Blossfeldt
Chile nettle, seed capsules

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 066

#66 Karl Blossfeldt
Broad bean, cut stem

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 067

#67 Karl Blossfeldt
Dutch rush, cross-section of shoot

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 068

#68 Karl Blossfeldt
Dutch rush

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 069

#69 Karl Blossfeldt
Dutch rush, scouring rush, Great horsetail

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 070

#70 Karl Blossfeldt
Dutch rush, scouring rush, cross-section

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 071

#71 Karl Blossfeldt
Scabious, seed

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 072

#72 Karl Blossfeldt
Water avens, flower bud without sepals

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 073

#73 Karl Blossfeldt
Common rue, herb of grace, young fruit with calyx

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 074

#74 Karl Blossfeldt
Silver groundsel, dusty miller, flower buds

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 075

#75 Karl Blossfeldt
Caucasian wingnut, young leaf

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 076

#76 Karl Blossfeldt
Gummy meadow saxifrage, terminal growth

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 077

#77 Karl Blossfeldt
Dogwood, leaf bud

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 078

#78 Karl Blossfeldt
Willkomm’s saxifrage

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 079

#79 Karl Blossfeldt
Japanese plantain lily, young shoot, Dogwood, leaf bud

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 080

#80 Karl Blossfeldt
Caucasian wingnut, young leaf

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 081

#81 Karl Blossfeldt
Canadian vervain, leaf

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 082

#82 Karl Blossfeldt
Holly fern, young unrolling leaf

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 083

#83 Karl Blossfeldt
Common Scotch pine and Norway spruce, section of twigs

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 084

#84 Karl Blossfeldt
Eryngo

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 085

#85 Karl Blossfeldt
Passionflower

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 086

#86 Karl Blossfeldt
Gummy meadow saxifrage, part of an umbel

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 087

#87 Karl Blossfeldt
Japanese primrose, fruits

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 088

#88 Karl Blossfeldt
Storksbill, young leaf

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 089

#89 Karl Blossfeldt
European larch, young cone

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 090

#90 Karl Blossfeldt
Phlomis sania, unfolding leaf

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 091

#91 Karl Blossfeldt
Winter aconite, flower bud

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 092

#92 Karl Blossfeldt
Winter aconite, sepals with fruits

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 093

#93 Karl Blossfeldt
Dogwood, seed head

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 094

#94 Karl Blossfeldt
Seed head

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 095

#95 Karl Blossfeldt
Slough grass, fruiting spikelets

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 096

#96 Karl Blossfeldt
Phacelia, panicle

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 097

#97 Karl Blossfeldt
Gray’s sedge, fruits

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 098

#98 Karl Blossfeldt
Chile nettle, flower bud

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 099

#99 Karl Blossfeldt
Chile nettle, open bud

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 100

#100 Karl Blossfeldt
Meadow sage, Common comfrey, fruiting spike

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 101

#101 Karl Blossfeldt
Bean caper, European cotoneaster

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 102

#102 Karl Blossfeldt Pacific
Dogwood, twig, Flowering dogwood, twig

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 103

#103 Karl Blossfeldt
Pacific dogwood, branching

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 104

#104 Karl Blossfeldt
Maple, twigs of different acer species

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 105

#105 Karl Blossfeldt
Bottle brush, tips of twigs

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 106

#106 Karl Blossfeldt
Dogwood and Flowering dogwood, small sections of twig

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 107

#107 Karl Blossfeldt
Indian balsam, snapweed, stem with branching

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 108

#108 Karl Blossfeldt
Gourd, squash, stems

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 109

#109 Karl Blossfeldt
Rosin-weed, compass-plant

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 110

#110 Karl Blossfeldt
White bryony, leaf with tendril

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 111

#111 Karl Blossfeldt
Indian balsam, snapweed, branching

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 112

#112 Karl Blossfeldt
Chasmanthium latifolia, spikelets

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 113

#113 Karl Blossfeldt
White bryony, tendrils

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 114

#114 Karl Blossfeldt
Laserwort, part of a fruit umbel

$80.00

Karl Blossfeldt 115

#115 Karl Blossfeldt
Pumpkin, gourd, squash, tendrils

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 116

#116 Karl Blossfeldt
Leaf of a Colona species, leaf veins

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 117

#117 Karl Blossfeldt
Common globe thistle, part of a flower head

$50.00

Karl Blossfeldt 118

#118 Karl Blossfeldt
Fruits

$50.00