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 Henbane, seed capsule

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 060

#60 Anemone, windflower, flower

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 061

#61 Canterbury bell

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 062

#62 Conical silene, seed capsule

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 063

#63 Roof houseleek, flower bud

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 064

#64 Mallow family, seed capsules

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 065

#65 Chile nettle, seed capsules

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 066

#66 Broad bean, cut stem

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 067

#67 Dutch rush, cross-section of shoot

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 068

#68 Dutch rush

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 069

#69 Dutch rush, scouring rush, Great horsetail

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 070

#70 Dutch rush, scouring rush, cross-section

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 071

#71 Scabious, seed

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 072

#72 Water avens, flower bud without sepals

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 073

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

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 074

#74 Silver groundsel, dusty miller, flower buds

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 075

#75 Caucasian wingnut, young leaf

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 076

#76 Gummy meadow saxifrage, terminal growth

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 077

#77 Dogwood, leaf bud

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 078

#78 Willkomm’s saxifrage

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 079

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

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 080

#80 Caucasian wingnut, young leaf

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 081

#81 Canadian vervain, leaf

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 082

#82 Holly fern, young unrolling leaf

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 083

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

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 084

#84 Eryngo

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 085

#85 Passionflower

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 086

#86 Gummy meadow saxifrage, part of an umbel

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 087

#87 Japanese primrose, fruits

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 088

#88 Storksbill, young leaf

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 089

#89 European larch, young cone

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 090

#90 Phlomis sania, unfolding leaf

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 091

#91 Winter aconite, flower bud

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 092

#92 Winter aconite, sepals with fruits

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 093

#93 Dogwood, seed head

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 094

#94 Seed head

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 095

#95 Slough grass, fruiting spikelets

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 096

#96 Phacelia, panicle

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 097

#97 Gray’s sedge, fruits

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 098

#98 Chile nettle, flower bud

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 099

#99 Chile nettle, open bud

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 100

#100 Meadow sage, Common comfrey, fruiting spike

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 101

#101 Bean caper, European cotoneaster

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 102

#102 Pacific Dogwood, twig, Flowering dogwood, twig

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 103

#103 Pacific dogwood, branching

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 104

#104 Maple, twigs of different acer species

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 105

#105 Bottle brush, tips of twigs

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 106

#106 Dogwood and Flowering dogwood, small sections of twig

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 107

#107 Indian balsam, snapweed, stem with branching

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 108

#108 Gourd, squash, stems

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 109

#109 Rosin-weed, compass-plant

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 110

#110 White bryony, leaf with tendril

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 111

#111 Indian balsam, snapweed, branching

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 112

#112 Chasmanthium latifolia, spikelets

$160.00

Karl Blossfeldt 113

#113 White bryony, tendrils

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 114

#114 Laserwort, part of a fruit umbel

$100.00

Karl Blossfeldt 115

#115 Pumpkin, gourd, squash, tendrils

$240.00

Karl Blossfeldt 116

#116 Leaf of a Colona species, leaf veins

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 117

#117 Common globe thistle, part of a flower head

$60.00

Karl Blossfeldt 118

#118 Fruits

$60.00

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