Archive

3 February until 19 April 2015
Herbarium. Wilhelm Weimar
The Department Photography in Context

Wilhelm Weimar (1857-1917) compiled his photographic herbarium around the turn of the century. In it, the sharpened perception of the trained botanist is combined with a keen eye for aesthetic composition. Against a neutral background, he photographs blossoms, leaves and twigs, always striving to achieve a pleasing visual presentation and a true-to-life reproduction of the natural forms and colour values. His images were informed by a theory of design in the arts and crafts which was searching for new decorative forms based on the structures and constructive principles found in nature. With Weimar, however, the fixed, tectonic forms of the plants take a back seat, and he conveys an impression of them as living, growing organisms. His work combines botanic interest, the tradition of ornamental pattern books in the applied arts and the newly awakened interest in the photographic image in its own right, over and above its status as a visual identification aid. The 40 or so examples of his work which can be seen here give a glimpse into a previously completely unknown and important inventory of Wilhelm Weimar‘s oeuvre, and set it in relation to photographs of plants by Constant Alexandre Famin (1827-1888), the Alinari brothers (active from  1854 - 1890) as well as a pattern book for the applied arts from the publisher Martin Gerlach (1846-1918), which are also on view in the exhibition.

 

Ill.: Wilhelm Weimar, Akelei, Hamburg, 1896-1901, Kollodiumpapier, 15,6 x 22,9 cm, © Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg