Front / Recto

  • Title Mysterious Apparition (Rätselhafte Erscheinung)
  • Negative Date 1928–33
  • Print Date 1928–35
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 8 13/16 × 6" (22.4 × 15.3 cm)
    Sheet 9 7/16 × 6 9/16" (24 × 16.7 cm)
  • Place Taken Munich
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Bequest of Arthur M. Bullowa, by exchange
  • MoMA Accession Number 1832.2001
  • Copyright © Estate Franz Roh, Munich

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions Ink from a stamp on another work visible on sheet recto, bottom left: Dr. Franz Roh D.W.B./HERAUSGEBER VON "FOTOAUGE" UND "FOTOTEK." Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom center: 80. Signed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom left: FR. Stamped in black ink on sheet verso, bottom left: NACHLASS FRANZ ROH. Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom right: 85304 [circled].
  • Provenance The artist, Munich; by inheritance to the artist's estate (Juliane Roh, 1909–1987), Munich, 1965 [1]; to Galleria del Levante (Emilio Bertonati, 1934–1981), Milan/Munich [2]; to a former assistant of Bertonati, Milan [3]; to Priska Pasquer, Photographic Art Consulting, Cologne [4]; purchased by Thomas Walther, October 1, 1997 [5]; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Estate stamp on print verso.
    [2] Priska Pasquer, telephone conversation with Simon Bieling, May 5, 2005.
    [3] Pasquer, letter to Maria Morris Hambourg, October 28, 2013.
    [4] Thomas Walther, telephone conversation with Bieling, June 22, 2004.
    [5] Priska Pasquer, Photographic Art Consulting invoice, October 1, 1997.

Back Printing

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


  • Surface Sheen Glossy
  • Techniques Enlargement
    Negative print
  • 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 Metric
  • Weight Double weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.28
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 80%
    Softwood bleached sulfite
    Hardwood bleached sulfite 18%
    Softwood bleached kraft/soda 2%
  • Material Techniques Developing-out paper
    Back printing
  • 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, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba
    • Verso: Al, Si, S, K, Ca, Fe, 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, K, Ca, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Fe, Zn, Sr, Ag

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