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    [Photography]. John Ehninger. Autograph Etchings by American Artists. Produced by a new application of Photographic Art, under the supervision of John W. Ehninger. Illustrated by Selections from American Poets. New York: W. A. Townsend & Company, 1859. Large folio (13 x 10.5 inches; 330 x 267 mm.). With twelve mounted cliché-verre photographs (measuring approximately 8 x 6 inches) on albumen paper, each with an accompanying leaf of poetry and a guard leaf. "Photographic printing by P. C. Duchochois" (title-page verso). "Publisher's Preface" by John W. Ehninger (page [5]-[7]) describes the technique and benefits of drawing with an etching needle on a glass plate coated with collodion and varnish. Contemporary half red hard-grain morocco, ruled in gilt, over red morocco-grain cloth boards. Front cover lettered in gilt, spine ruled in gilt in compartments with gilt center tool and with five slightly raised gilt-decorated bands; marbled endpapers. Some damage to upper portion of spine. Head of spine and joints repaired; repair to lower corner of front cover concealing a small portion of the gilt double fillet. Dark stain in the upper portion of cloth binding where it meets the morocco on both front and rear covers; blistering to cloth on rear cover. Front hinge cracking, but sound; some surface loss to marbled paper at upper hinge; Short tear to upper gutter of rear free endpaper. Mostly faint dampstain in the upper gutter, heaviest at beginning and end; some light to moderate foxing. A very good copy. Protected in a mylar wrapper.

    More Information: The prints are "The Pool" by Asher B. Durand, poem by F. S. Cozzens; "The Puritan" by Emmanuel Leutze, poem by J. G. Whittier; "Autumn" by J. F. Kensett, poem by J. R. Lowell; "Noon" by F. O. C. Darley, poem by W. C. Bryant; "The Lake" by J. W. Casilear, poem by Alfred B. Street; "The Wigwam" by Eastman Johnson, poem by Charles Sprague; "Spring" by S. R. Gifford, poem by N. P. Willis; "Childhood" by G. C. Lambdin, poem by J. W. Parsons; "Winter" by George Boughton, poem by T. Buchanan Read; "The Sea-Shore" by W. P. W. Dana, poem by Bayard Taylor; "The Tropics" by L. R. Mignot, poem by R. H. Stoddard; and "The Exiles" by J.W. Ehninger, poem by H. W. Longfellow.

    In this copy, the poem to accompany "The Lake" is bound with "The Wigwam" print; the poem to accompany "Spring" is bound to accompany "The Lake" print; and the poem to accompany "The Wigwam" is bound to accompany the "Spring" print. "Childhood" plate becoming detached from guard.

    This is the first published collection of American examples of the cliché-verre process; the use of drawing or painting on glass which was then used as a negative to make positive photographic prints. This process was popularized in France by such artists as Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Théodore Rousseau, and Eugène Delacroix. The artist draws with a stylus or a brush directly on a glass plate coated with an opaque substance. The glass is then used as a negative to print a photographic positive of the drawing on a light sensitive paper. In his Preface, Ehninger outlines in detail his process, with his own improvements for rendering detail in skies and distant backgrounds. The twelve cliché-verre images are by some of the most recognized American artists of the era.

    John Whetton Ehninger (1827-1889) graduated Columbia College in 1847 and went to Europe to study painting under Emmanuel Leutze in Düsseldorf. He returned to New York in 1950 and was elected a member of the National Academy in 1860. "In what seems to be a trait in the history of cliché-verre, [Ehninger] independently 're-invented' the process and published Autograph Etchings by American Artists in 1859" (Jacobson, p. 173).


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    March, 2020
    4th Wednesday
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