Houston is the only U.S. venue for the first major retrospective devoted to Austrian photographer and scientist Heinrich Kühn. An important figure in the international Pictorialist movement of the early 1900s, Kühn (1866–1944) is closely linked to Americans Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. The Pictorialists elevated photography from a strictly commercial venture to an accepted artistic medium, and in his early photographs Kühn created the atmospheric effects of Impressionist paintings. He became particularly skilled in processes that gave him the freedom to manipulate aspects of the picture such as tones and details, and to print on papers with varied textures. At times, the photographs had the character of etchings or charcoal drawings.
Kühn became renowned for the simple elegance of his compositions and for subjects ranging from intimate portraits and nudes to still lifes and rural scenes. Through more than 100 photographs, Heinrich Kühn: The Perfect Photograph showcases the photographer’s expert use of light, composition, and color motifs.