Karl Blossfeldt

  • Karl Blossfeldt: Dipsacus laciniatus
  • Karl Blossfeldt: Sambucus racemosa, Red Elderberry, Bud of Blossom
  • Karl Blossfeldt: Adiantum pedatum

16 April - 14 June 2013
Galleries 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery
(Gallery 9)

+ Share

Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) is recognised for his extensive and unique collection of photographic plant  portraits that reveal the tactile qualities, intricate forms and uncanny aspects of flora. His fusion of scientific observation, sculptural form and surreal composition pioneered an artistic style that forged new approaches to modern art and photography.

Working at the junction of Art Nouveau and Modernism, Blossfeldt developed a series of homemade cameras that allowed him to photograph plant surfaces in  unprecedented magnified detail. Working as a tutor in Berlin from the late nineteenth century until his death, Blossfeldt’s works were primarily used as teaching tools and were brought to public attention in 1928 by his first publication Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature). Swiftly regarded as a seminal book on photography, Blossfeldt’s factual yet finely detailed imagery was praised by Walter Benjamin, adopted by the Surrealists and mass produced in magazines and books.

The exhibition is a major presentation of Blossfeldt’s work and consists of over 80 silver gelatin prints made and used during his tutorship. In addition, five rarely-seen large-scale prints will also be shown. These historic photographs are accompanied by his original publications, a set of working collages made in preparation for his books along with a number of avant-garde writings that embraced his work, including a text by Georges Bataille.
Admission free

Read more about the exhibition (pdf)

Karl Blossfeldt Events Programme

25 April Education Open Evening
25 April Gallery Talk: Curator Kirsty Ogg on Karl Blossfeldt
28 - 31 May Children's Art Courses: Enchanted Forests
7 June Discussion: The Botanical Imagination




Dipsacus laciniatus, Cutleaf Teasel, Opposite Leaves at Stem, Before 1926, Gelatin Silver Print, 29.7 x 23.7 cm
Long-term loan from Berlin University of the Arts – Karl Blossfeldt Collection at Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne