Other Currencies

Belgian Pictorialist Photography

Tableaux Photographiques.

Brussels: Devaivre, n.d. (circa 1925). Oblong octavo (22 x 28 cm). Original textured and printed publisher's wrappers, with silk rope tie; 4 pp. of preface text in French and English followed by 29 black-and-white reproductions from photographs by Misonne plus pictorial title page. Some light scattered handling wear, dust-staining, and toning, some soiling and minor chipping to wrappers, overall about very good.

Léonard Misonne (1870-1943) was an important Belgian pictorialist photographer best known for his atmospheric landscapes and street scenes, and was nicknamed the "Corot of photography". According to the Directory of Belgian Photographers, "Misonne's work is characterised by a masterly treatment of light and atmospheric conditions. His images express poetic qualities, but sometimes slip into an anecdotal sentimentality."

He experimented with many different lighting techniques and processes to achieve his intented results, such as the Fresson processes, bromoil or oil printing, and his own version of bromoil called the mediobrome processes. He also invented two different printing processes. With the "photo-dessin" process, a photograph is turned into a line drawing by projecting the negative onto a drawing surface and darkening the light areas with a pencil until they disappear, a sort of manual form of negative printing. The "Flou-Net" process uses ruffled celluloid strips to help soften the image. Misonne was also a member of the Societé Française de Photographie as well as a founding member of the Cercle d'Art Photographique, and exhibited his work throughout the United States and Europe.

This slim volume collects reproductions of a total of 30 of Misonne's atmospheric landscapes, each titled below the image in French, German, English, and Dutch. The preface, written by Ch. Duvivier, states, "If he shows a preference for landscapes, he has such variety of them and can show them under such different lights: dawn, twilight, wind, rain, mist, mud, dust and even snowstorms. He has an innumerable variety of skies crowning his pictures from the untangable light of dawn to the monstrous nimbus clouds out of which lightning seems ready to spring forth. Where his works, however, all resemble each other, is in the fact that they all represent a phase of the atmosphere and one always feels in what kind of weather he has worked."

As of March 2023, OCLC locates only a single holding of this work in a North American institution.

Book ID: 52778

Price: $750.00