Publication "Faces on Glas - Early Pacific-Photography from the Museum Godeffroy"
Since 1885 GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde holds a range of portraits of women and men, that were taken over 150 years ago. As ambrotypes they are somewhat unique – this is a photographic technique that was rather popular in the 1850s and 1860s. It comprises a negative low in contrast and underdeveloped that is assembled on glass before a dark background which makes it appear like a positive image.
The articles in this volume that has been published by Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden thus attend to out 45 ambrotypes and not only give an art-historical and art-technological perspective but also allow a compelling insight into the restoration processes of these photographs. For the exhibition „ Faces on Glass“, in the scope of which the photographs were first prresented to the public in 2016/17, they could be restored and evaluated once again.
Detailed data of state and damage of of the objects are added to the descriptions of the ambrotypes which are assembled in small cases. Both steps taken in the restoration process and materials and techniques receive equal attention. The technology and production of these photographs are commented in great detail just as well.
Our intense examination of the the objects made appear traces, that gave us novel hints on the origin and authorship of the photographs. The publication is subsequently completed by articles on art-historical classification, on the photographer Andrew Garrett as well as by a catalogue with all 45 ambrotypes. The high-quality images are replenished by detailed descriptions.
The publication nicely verifies the collaboration of art history and natural science and a successful start to this series.
Ulrike Müller, Graduate Restorer