Adiantum pedatum

by Karl Blossfeldt

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Artist Statement

Shot in 1929, Adiantum pedatum exemplifies the crisp, close-up signature style of German photographer Karl Blossfeldt’s work. Using a home-made camera, he captured the still-furled fronds of a young American maidenhair fern enlarged to eight times their natural size. Blossfeldt originally intended for his work to act as inspiration for architects, sculptors, and textile designers with the hope that portraying botanical forms on such a large scale would encourage his students to see their geometry and repetitive patterns in new light. He held the belief that the “plant never lapses into mere arid functionalism; it fashions and shapes according to logic and suitability, and with its primeval force compels everything to attain the highest artistic form.”

Why We Love It

If you thought the farmer’s market frenzy around fresh fiddleheads was a little extra, you should have seen us when we first laid eyes on the ornate, fossil-like stems in this vintage still life from 1929. The fiddleheads pictured here actually belong to the American Maidenhair fern, not the species most commonly served as a hyper-seasonal spring delicacy. But what the Maidenhair lacks in culinary fame, it clearly compensates for in intricate, innate beauty—though it might not be obvious to the naked eye. Of course, that made it an excellent candidate for Karl Blossfeldt’s black and white close-up. And after some careful restoration by our retoucher, Adiantum pedatum is readied for your walls. 

“Plants are a treasure trove of forms — one which is carelessly overlooked only because the scale of shapes fails to catch the eye and sometimes this makes the forms hard to identify,” Blossfeldt once said. “But that is precisely what these photographs are intended to do — to portray diminutive forms on a convenient scale and encourage students to pay them more attention” ... More on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

Details

+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.

Medium:

Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta

Edition Structure:
10"x8" | edition of 10
14"x11" | edition of 150
20"x16" | edition of 50
24"x20" | edition of 25
30"x24" | edition of 10

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) was a German photographer, sculptor, and teacher best known for his strikingly magnified portraits of plants, seeds, leaves, and other flora. Blossfeldt began his artistic career in 1881 in sculpture and iron casting at the Art Ironworks Foundry in Mägdesprung, Germany. In 1890, he became an apprentice to Moritz Meurer, a decorative artist and professor of ornament and design. Under Meurer, Blossfeldt began creating and photographing botanical specimens around Rome, Greece, and North Africa. In 1898, he took a teaching position at the School of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin, where he developed a series... Read More
of home-made cameras to photograph plant surfaces in hyper magnification up to 30x their natural size. For most of his life his work was used as an archive of teaching tools with the intention of inspiring young architects, sculptors, and textile artists. However, upon the 1929 publication of his book Urformen der Kunst, Blossfeldt rapidly rose to prominence in the art industry. He was praised as a pioneer of the New Objectivity movement and compared to other photography greats like Eugène Atget and August Sander.
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