L’Art Photographique : French showcase for photographic and engraving art: 1899-1900

L’Art Photographique : French showcase for photographic and engraving art: 1899-1900

Chant Sacré, (Sacred Song)  by Constant Puyo  is one of 48 plates included in L'Art Photographique. Taken in a room lit by two windows, it  is a very fine example of hand-pulled photogravure (héliogravure) printing from this French journal.

With few exceptions, the monthly photographic journal L’Art Photographique (The Photographic Art) was devoted to the work of French photographers. Published for only one year from July, 1899 through June, 1900, the publication might be considered a continuation of the limited-edition portfolios issued by the Photo Club de Paris commemorating their annual photographic salons held between 1894-1897. The difference however was it was meant for a wider audience. Etienne Wallon, a prominent member of the club, writes in the introduction to the new work in July, 1899 that keeping artistic photography relevant was a concern, and notes the progress made from these aforementioned exhibitions as impetus for its publication.

What is very special about this journal were the resources devoted to producing it. It was certainly the most important showcase for fine photographic engraving being done in France at the turn of the last century, selling itself as the first French publication devoted solely to the image itself. French ateliers including Bergeret et Cie in Nancy; Draeger frères, Rückert & Cie, and Paul Dujardin in Paris produced exquisite plates in hand-pulled photogravure, (héliogravure) collotype, (photocollographie) as well as single and multiple color halftone (similigravure) plates reproduced in the exact size the artist intended. (1.) These plates were issued loose without any letterpress, and were intended to be framed should the subscriber desire.

Our in-depth overview for L’Art Photographique begins here.


1. See Preface: Etienne Wallon: L’Art Photographique: July, 1899