Front / Recto

  • Title Ice Floes on the Elbe (Eisgang in der Elbe)
  • Negative Date 1924
  • Print Date 1924–35
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 3 5/16 × 4 1/2" (8.4 × 11.5 cm)
    Sheet 3 7/16 × 4 5/8" (8.8 × 11.8 cm)
  • Place Taken Berlin
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Mrs. Mervyn Palmer and Eliot Porter, by exchange
  • MoMA Accession Number 1811.2001

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions Inscribed in black ink on sheet verso, top center: Eisgang in der Elbe [underlined]. Stamped in red ink on sheet verso, center: Original-Aufnahme/von/R. Petschow/Berlin-Steglitz/Stadtpark 3/Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Inscribed in red pencil on sheet verso, bottom-right corner: x.
  • Provenance The artist, possibly Berlin; possibly by inheritance to the artist's estate [1]. Helmut Gernsheim [2]; to Galerie Berinson, Berlin, 1994 [3]; purchased by Thomas Walther, New York; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Egidio Marzona, conversation with Simon Bieling, Berlin, August 2005; and Hendrik Berinson, e-mail to Maria Morris Hambourg, April 15, 2013. Berinson has said that there is no Petschow estate and no family as far as he knows.
    [2] MacGill/Walther 2001(3), p. 17; and Berinson, conversation with Bieling, Galerie Berinson, Berlin, February 18, 2005.
    [3] MacGill/Walther 2001(3), p. 17.


  • Surface Sheen Semireflective
  • Techniques Contact print
  • PTM
    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 Metric
  • Weight Single weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.18
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 67%
    Rag 28%
    Bast 5%
  • Material Techniques Developing-out 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: S, Cl, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba
    • Verso: Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ba

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

In Context

Historical Publications

  • “Das Riesenspielzeug. Die Welt von oben: Fahrten mit dem Freiballon.” Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, no. 2 (January 11, 1925): 36 (as Kein bakteriologisches präparat unter dem Mikrosköp, sondern ein Stück des Elbstroms, der von zahlloβen Eiβchollen bedeck ist—vom Freiballon aus aufgenommen).

Historical Exhibitions

  • Museum Folkwang, Essen. Internationale Ausstellung Fotografie der Gegenwart. Organized by Kurt-Wilhelm Kästner. January 20–February 17, 1929. (traveling exhibition)

    Städtische Ausstellungshallen, Stuttgart. Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds Film und Foto (Fifo) (no. 807, as Günther Petschow, Eisgang in der Elbe). Organized by Deutscher Werkbund. May 18-July 7, 1929. (traveling exhibition)

Related People

Related Links

For best results, please enable JavaScript.