Hans Watzek Austrian, 1848-1903
Born Johann Josef Watzek in Bohemia, Hans Watzek was a pictorial photographer specializing in gum bichromate prints. After studying at art academies in Leipzig and Munich, Watzek became a professor of drawing in 1874. He joined the Vienna Camera Club in 1891 and two years later was elected to membership in the Linked Ring.
Around 1894 Watzek befriended fellow Austrian pictorialists Hugo Henneberg and Heinrich Kuehn, and they began working closely. The group traveled, photographed, and exhibited together, becoming known as the Trifolium (Das Kleeblatt). Experimenting with the gum bichromate process, the three began making large-scale prints, often producing images measuring 2 x 3 feet. Watzek, the most innovative member of the group, built his own camera and wrote technical articles for the magazine Wiener Photographische Blätter. After his death, Watzek's work was reproduced in Camera Work (January 1906) and was exhibited by Alfred Stieglitz in his New York City gallery as well as in the 1910 International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in Buffalo. M.M.
Heinrich Kuehn Austrian, b. Germany, 1866-1944
Carl Christian Heinrich Kuehn (also spelled Kühn) was a key figure in the aesthetic movement in photography, as well as a teacher, writer, and theoretician. Born in Dresden, he studied medicine and science in Innsbruck, Leipzig, Berlin, and Freiburg before beginning to photograph in 1883. In Austria and Germany, Kuehn's role was not unlike that of Alfred Stieglitz in the United States. Not surprisingly, after the two men met in 1904, they remained close friends for many years.
Kuehn believed in the artistic manipulation of the photographic image and was responsible for refinements in the gum bichromate process, through which a photograph could be made to resemble paintings and prints more closely. Among his influences were the early Scottish calotypists David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, who were also acknowledged by Stieglitz, and whose prints combined the softness conveyed by their paper negatives with a formality of composition and depth of tone derived from painting.
Kuehn had a long, productive career, during which he worked with Hans Watzek and Hugo Henneberg on multiple gum bichromate processes. Besides exhibiting and publishing widely, he founded and directed the Schule für Kunstlerische Photographie in Innsbruck (1914-20) and formed the Viennese Trifolium (Das Kleeblatt). He wrote and published two technical manuals and many articles. An inventor and designer of photographic processes and equipment, Kuehn was elected into the Linked Ring in 1895, was a member of the Vienna Camera Club, and received numerous awards and recognition for his work. T.W.F.
Hugo Henneberg Austro-Hungarian, 1863-1918
Born in Vienna, Hugo Henneberg received his doctorate in physics in the late 1880s. About 1890 he became interested in photography and the following year took part in Vienna's Ausstellung Kunstlerischer Photographien, the first international exhibition of artistic amateur photography. Around the time of his acceptance into the Linked Ring (1894), Henneberg developed a friendship with fellow Austrian pictorialists Heinrich Kuehn and Hans Watzek. They exhibited together under the name the Trifolium (Das Kleeblatt), becoming known for their large-scale gum bichromate prints.
Henneberg's photographs, primarily of landscapes, were included in numerous European exhibitions throughout the 1890s and into the first decade of the 20th century. His work was reproduced in Camera Notes and Camera Work and was included in a 1906 showing of Austrian and German photographers at "291," as well as in the 1910 International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography at the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo. Around 1911 he turned from photography to painting. M.M.