[BRAUN, Adolphe (1812-1877)]
Album of 25 albumen photographs of flower arrangements
[Paris: circa 1855]. Folio. 25 albumen photographs, most with rounded corners, each mounted onto white paper and mounted onto tan sheets within the album.
Contemporary navy blue morocco, bound by C. Lewis, covers with wide elaborate borders in gilt, central floral wreath stamped in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt, flat spine gilt, cream silk endpapers
A stunning album of early floral photographs attributed to Braun.
A noted French textile designer, Braun was an early adopter of the use of photography in his studio to aid in the design of floral patterns. "It was his flower images that brought Adolphe Braun into the top rank of photographers. The subject could not have been more appropriate for him, as flowers were the most important theme in the printing factories' design studios ... Adolphe Braun disliked the distorted, repetitive and conventional floral compositions of the schools and design studios. His stated goal for his Fleurs photographiées was to allow designers to work from natural models" (O'Brien and Bergstein, p. 15).
In 1854, Braun presented an album of 300 photographs to the Academie des Sciences in Paris and exhibited additional images at the Exposition Universelle of 1855. "With the collodion process, Adolphe Braun was able to reproduce his flower wreaths and arrangements with perfect subtlety and finess ... These images compose one of the major works of art produced in this period, known as the 'golden age of photography'" (O'Brien and Bergstein, p. 16)
Braun catalogues show that his large albumen prints were offered for sale at ten francs each. Although he produced hundreds of glass plates, he found the market for the larger, more expensive images was limited among textile artists and students of design and therefore produced far fewer of the larger sizes like the present images.
While a few scattered images appear in museums and private holdings, the principal repository of Braun photographs is held by the Musée de l'Impression sur Étoffes, Mulhouse. Braun floral photographs of the size and quality as those in the present album are seldom seen on the market.
Maureen C. O'Brien and Mary Bergstein, Image and Enterprise: The Photographs of Adolphe Braun (London: Thames and Hudson, 2000).