Hover over the ARTWORK tab and select NEW IN GALLERY to explore our brand new consignments!

Karl Blossfeldt 1865-1932 German

Select a particular work of art to view additional information and images that can be enlarged.

German photographer Karl Blossfeldt studied as a sculptor and modeler in the ironworks and foundry at Mägdesprung from 1882 to 1884 and then at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin from 1884 to 1890. Between 1890 and 1896, he travelled to Italy, Greece and North Africa with Professor M. Meurer (1839–1916), who had a theory that natural forms were inherently reproduced in art. With funds from the Prussian government, Blossfeldt made a series of plant photographs for use in education. In 1898 he was given a teaching post at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin, where he set up an archive for plant photographs. In the 1920s his photographs became very popular, and a collection, Urformen der Kunst, was published. They were seen as forerunners of Neue Sachlichkeit. It was not only the clear cut quality of the reproductions that won him esteem, but also the way in which the plant was revealed as the basis for a formal language of construction that could also be applied to objects and architecture. More of his photographs were published in Wundergarten der Natur. This depiction of basic forms provoked a variety of responses among artists, from a Neo-Romantic longing for nature, to alienation from the surreal enlargement of subject-matter. They were rejected by the avant-garde in Cologne as superficially aestheticizing. Exhibitions in Bonn and Kassel in 1976 and 1977 renewed public awareness of Blossfeldt’s work.