William Langenheim (American, born Germany, Schöningen 1807–1874)
Frederick Langenheim (American, born Germany, Schöningen 1809–1879)
Image: 9 5/9 x 7 5/8; Frame: 18 x 15 x 1 3/8
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
In 1841-42, William and Frederick Langenheim opened a daguerreotype studio in Philadelphia. Known for their technical innovations the former journalists were not the city's first but were certainly its most celebrated photographers. The brothers pioneered a technique of hand-coloring daguerreotypes (1846), purchased Henry Talbot's United States patent for paper photography (1849), invented a system of making negatives and positives on glass (1848-50), and introduced stereoscopic photography to the American public (1850). This mammoth plate daguerreotype is one of the very few to have survived. It served perhaps to advertise or promote the firm, a convincing example of the Langenheims' professional mastery. The stylistic simplicity--the use of a black backdrop and the absence of accessories--focuses the viewer's attention on the sitter's somber yet amiable expression, and the slight turning away of the sitter's face from his own camera reveals a shyness that belies the self-admiration often implicit in self-portraiture.
Langenheim Family; [Rinhart Galleries, Inc., Colebrook, Conneticut]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, August 4, 1985
National Portrait Gallery, London. "Staging the Self: Self-Portrait Photography 1840s-1980s," October 3, 1986–January 11, 1987.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 26," May 15, 2000–September 18, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 39," December 23, 2004–April 17, 2005.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl. 79.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. p. 310.