Jan 3, 2014
Jul 7, 2010
Jan 3, 2014



c. 1926

Édouard Léon Théodore Mesens

(Belgian, 1903–1971)

Collodion silver printing-out paper, photogram

Image: 17.9 x 23.8 cm (7 1/16 x 9 3/8 in.); Mounted: 28.2 x 35.8 cm (11 1/8 x 14 1/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2007.95



Writer, composer, art dealer, and key figure in the Surrealist movement in Belgium, Mesens experimented with photograms only from 1924 to 1930. This image employs everyday objects: two leaves, one or more drinking glasses, and razor blades. The latter may be an autobiographical reference: a bit of a dandy, Mesens shaved three times a day. The seeming solidity of the objects, ranging from solid to translucent and shadowy to crisp, was altered by leaving them on the paper for varying amounts of time. His use of collodion printing-out paper, which develops slowly in sunlight without a chemical developer, suggests this may have been one of his earliest experiments with photography.

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