Albert Renger-Patzsch - Das Bäumchen (The Little Tree)
Das Bäumchen (The Little Tree)
Vintage gelatin silver print. 37.6 x 27.4 cm (39.5 x 29.8 cm). Mounted under original mat, signed in pencil below the mat opening at right. - Framed.
”When asked how I manage capture such good shots so often, I answer: I adjust my camera settings to suit the motif, use the right exposure, develop and copy my photographs properly, and the results turn out just fine. Avoiding mistakes is often just a question of success in photographic craftsmanship.” [Albert Renger-Patzsch, in: Wilhelm Schöppe (ed.), Meister der Kamera erzählen. Wie sie wurden und wie sie arbeiten. Halle/Saale 1937, p. 44]. Renger-Patzsch's somewhat sober explanation of his working methods seems particularly to apply to this image of a small tree. The composition couldn't be simpler: The centre of the work is occupied by the vertical line of the tree trunk and the horizon creates a clear cut between the rolling hills of the landscape and the emptiness of the cloudless sky above. However, the image still fascinates due to the special way in which the photographer has captured surface textures - the brightly lit, smooth and shiny bark of the tree reflects the light of the sun in a brilliant contrast to the dreary sky and muddy grey piles of old snow.
The image was made during Renger-Patzsch's most important creative and photographic phase. The previous year had seen the publishing of his book “Die Welt ist schön”, which was of seminal importance to the development of New Objectivity. Shortly after this he moved to Essen and occupied a studio in the Folkwang Museum. This famous image of a young cherry tree in the dazzling early spring light was taken in the region of Meissen in Saxony and was one of the photographer's favourite motifs. He carefully created prints of this work by hand on Kodak Royal paper to be given as presents to good friends and patrons. The present work, signed by the photographer beneath the original mount, is one of these rare, large-format prints.
We would like to thank Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich, for his kind information.
Hans Windisch, Knipsen - aber mit Verstand! Ein Wegweiser für Amatöre, die gute Bilder machen wollen ("Neue Reihe", Ullstein-Sonderheft Nr. 9), Berlin 1933, n.pag., ill.; Albert Renger-Patzsch, Kleines Landschaftsbuch mit einem Geleitwort von Helene Henze, Münster 1947, ill. p. 15; Fritz Kempe, Albert Renger-Patzsch. Der Fotograf der Dinge, exhib.cat. Ruhrland- und Heimatmuseum Essen 1966, plate 9; Albert Renger-Patzsch. Bilder aus der Fotografischen Sammlung und dem Girardet-Foto-Archiv der Ruhr-Universität Bochum im Museum Folkwang, Essen, Essen 1997, ill. p. 85; Albert Renger-Patzsch. Joy before the object, exhib.cat. J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, New York 1993, ill. p. 13 and ill. on front cover; Ann- und Jürgen Wilde/Thomas Weski (ed.), Albert Renger-Patzsch. Meisterwerke, Munich 1997, ill. 91