Robert Demachy (French, 1859–1936)
15.8 x 22.8 cm. (6 1/4 x 9 in.)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Not on view
To dissociate their pictures from the snapshots and photomechanical reproductions that became common throughout the world in the 1890s, Pictorialist photographers employed many complex darkroom techniques intended to give a hand-made appearance to each of their prints. Few of these methods allowed the artist as much manual control as oil printing, of which Demachy was the acknowledged master. In this process, a sheet of drawing paper was hand-coated with light-sensitive gelatin, then exposed in contact with a negative and rinsed in water. Where exposed to light, the clear gelatin hardened; elsewhere, it washed away. The artist then used a brush to apply oil pigment, which would be absorbed only in the exposed areas. The unique image that resulted was equal parts oil sketch and photograph.