Thanks to his successful books of documentary photographs of Germany, Chargesheimer is best known for that style of work. Lichtgrafik Monoskripturen illuminates his lesser-known explorations with abstraction and experimental processes. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Chargesheimer made many cameraless images, which he called lichtgrafiks (light graphics or light prints). Each abstract photogram, or perhaps more accurately chemigram, was made as a direct pour or manipulation of different chemistry on gelatin silver paper. Chargesheimer was profoundly affected by the near total destruction of Cologne in World War II. The liquidity of his forms—a perfect blend of control and chance—reflects both the nature of the chemicals that created them and a world lacking fixed forms and values. His images are amorphous and evocative and not faithful to anything existing outside the frame.

Chargesheimer presented this body of work in a book of original and unique photographic prints, not reproductions. The ten prints in each edition of Lichtgrafik Monoskripturen share titles, some formal consistencies, and common chemistry (and therefore tonal qualities) to correspond throughout the editions, but each is unique because the chemicals cannot be controlled to the point of replication.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Chargesheimer (Carl-Heinz Hargesheimer), German, 1924 - 1972
Lichtgrafik Monoskripturen
Gelatin silver prints, photograms
Overall: 19 13/16 × 16 × 1 3/4 in. (50.3 × 40.6 × 4.4 cm) Image: 14 15/16 × 10 15/16 in. (37.9 × 27.8 cm) Mat: 19 3/8 × 15 3/8 in. (49.2 × 39.1 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by James and Franci Neely Crane, with additional funds provided by the S. I. Morris Photography Endowment

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

The artist; [Gerd Ander/Sander Gallery, Washington, D.C., March or April 1978];[ Feroz Gallery, Bonn, Germany]; purchased by MFAH, 2013.