• Karl Blossfeldt: Variations
    Ulrike Meyer Stump
    Lars Müller Publishers, 2020
    Lars Müller Publishers

Karl Blossfeldt, Urformen der Kunst, plate 6, 1935, Berlin, Germany.

Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) produced thousands of photographs of highly enlarged plant details. Created at the end of the nineteenth century, first as scientific illustrations for the decorative-arts reformer Moritz Meurer (1839–1916), later used as teaching materials for Blossfeldt’s own “Modeling after Living Plants” class, with the publication in 1928 of Urformen der Kunst [Art Forms in Nature] (1929) they became world famous as art photographs. Karl Blossfeldt: Variations analyzes the genesis and replication of Blossfeldt’s botanical motifs in teaching materials, pattern books, art books, exhibitions, and in the pages of the illustrated press. The work is supplemented by excursions into the rediscovery of Blossfeldt’s motifs in the architecture and design of the past 20 years. This first book-length monograph on Blossfeldt argues that the extraordinary proliferation of his plant images since the late 1920s was due not only to a fascination with plant forms, but also to the increasing interest in comparative viewing, parallelisms, analogs, and repetition.

Ulrike Meyer Stump is a lecturer in the Knowledge Visualization program in the Department of Design at the Zürich University of the Arts, Switzerland. She holds an MA in museology from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and a PhD in art history from Princeton University. Her work as writer, editor, and curator focuses on the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt, contemporary photography, and the history of the photobook. She is the curator of the exhibition No Two Alike: Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff (Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, September 2018–January 2019) and editor of its accompanying catalogue, author of Karl Blossfeldt: Working Collages (MIT Press, 2001), coeditor of Karl Blossfeldt: Aus der Werkstatt der Natur (forthcoming), and coauthor of Swiss Photobooks from 1927 to the Present (Lars Müller Publishers, 2011).

Lars Müller Publishers is an internationally active publishing house based in Zürich, Switzerland. It came into being in 1983, as a result of the bibliophile passion of designer Lars Müller. The house has made a worldwide name for itself—and not just in specialist fields—with carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, photography, contemporary art, and society. The publishing program reflects Lars Müller’s own diverse interests, documenting historical developments and contemporary phenomena by presenting compelling work in the visual arts and the design of objects and the environment and exploring its social and cultural relevance.