Front / Recto

  • Title Paul Citroen
  • Negative Date 1928
  • Print Date 1928
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 8 5/16 × 6 3/4" (21.1 × 17.2 cm)
  • Place Taken Berlin
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Abbott-Levy Collection funds, by exchange
  • MoMA Accession Number 1638.2001
  • Copyright © Marianne Breslauer / Fotostiftung Schweiz
  • Description

    Marianne Breslauer printed this image on Velox Gaslight Paper. Introduced in 1899, gaslight papers were extremely common and widely available through the 1930s. Ubiquitous stalwarts of the amateur and professional alike, they were available from almost every paper manufacturer in Europe and North America, offered in endless artistic and practical varieties. Promoted as easy to use, the papers could be exposed in the comfort of one’s parlor, just inches from an ordinary gas jet or electric bulb. A darkroom was not required because the slow chloro or chloro-bromo emulsions were not as sensitive as sister emulsions made for super-fast bromide enlarging papers. Although they were used primarily for contact printing, enlargements could be made from the gaslight papers, and it is possible that this is a rare example. This portrait was printed shortly after the negative was made.


    —Lee Ann Daffner

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions

    Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, top center: Das ist Pawel/der Späte/Beste/Einzige/'Chamotee,' [1] am 4. XII. 28. Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom left: PF 24640. Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom right: TW 900401.

    [1] "This is Paul/the late/best/only/'Chamotee.'"
  • Provenance The artist; to Paul Citroen (1896–1983); to Egidio Marzona, Berlin/Bielefeld, 1977 [1]. Probably to Kimmel/Cohen Photography Arts, New York [2]; purchased by Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto [3]; sold through Sotheby's New York (sale 6004, lot 209) to Thomas Walther, April 26, 1990 [4]; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Egidio Marzona, conversation with Thomas Walther, Berlin, April 2014.
    [2] Jane Corkin, telphone conversation with Maria Morris Hambourg, November 2013.
    [3] Ibid. The print was published in Photographs (Toronto: Jane Corkin Gallery, 1989), the gallery's tenth-anniversary book (as no. 39).
    [4] Corkin, telphone conversation with Hambourg; Thomas Walther archival no. TW 900401 on sheet verso; and Sotheby's invoice no. 6004 140, April 26, 1990.

Back Printing

Detail showing VELOX. brand logotype printed in ink on the verso of the photograph. In image processing, contrast was adjusted to enhance the readability of the logotype. The area of detail is 1 x 3 cm. Department of Conservation, MoMA


  • Surface Sheen Semireflective
  • PTM
    Detail view of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • Format Unknown
  • Weight Single weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.16
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 34%
    Hardwood bleached sulfite 1%
    Rag 59%
    Bast 6%
  • Material Techniques Back printing
    Gaslight paper
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a gelatin silver print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: P, S, Cl, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba, Pb
    • Verso: Mg, Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Fe, Zn, Sr, Ba, Pb

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Fe, Zn, Sr, Ag, Pb

In Context

Related Images

Marianne Breslauer. Roelf Paul Citroen (1896–1983). 1930. Gelatin silver print, 3 1/2 × 3 5/16" (8.9 × 8.4 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Gift of Manfred Heiting. The Manfred Heiting Collection. © Marianne Breslauer / Fotostiftung Schweiz
Marianne Breslauer. Paul Citroen [Berlin]. 1927. Gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 in. x 5 11/16 in. (20 cm x 14.45 cm). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Purchase. © Marianne Breslauer / Fotostiftung Schweiz

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