‘Painted Photograph’ exhibit reveals unique treatment of images

graphic illustration with exhibit title and examples of painted photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries

Long before Photoshop and Instagram filters, photographers in the 19th and early 20th centuries enhanced their work with water colors, oil paints, chalk, charcoal and crayon. A new exhibit, “The Painted Photograph: Selections from the B. & H. Henisch Photo-History Collection,” features a selection of these overpainted photographs, showing the rich variety and range of techniques and materials used.

The exhibition is located in the Henisch Room, 201A Pattee Library, University Park, and available for viewing through July 30, 2017 during the Pattee Library’s summer operating hours.

Eighty-five of the more than 300 overpaintings in the Henisch Collection are featured in the display, including early daguerreotypes and a memorial roundel from the early 20th century. While the overpainted photographs in this collection portrayed everyday life, each one is unique in that a colorist painted it by hand. One of the rarest items in the Henisch Collection is a photographer’s advertising scroll of overpainted samples from the 1890s. The scroll contains overpainted gelatin silver prints on canvas, charcoal and crayon-enhanced portraits, and advertisements for frames.

Curated by Candice Driver, Stelts/Filippelli intern in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, the exhibit is staged in the Henisch Room, which presents educational information and examples of 19th-century photographic processes. Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, ivorytypes and imprinted enamel and glass are displayed in this exhibit, as well as large, framed gelatin silver prints and overpainted photographs on paper in the form of cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards.

The entire Penn State News article on this exhibit is available online.

For more information or for questions about accommodations provided for this exhibit, contact Julie Porterfield at 814-865-1793 or jmp48@psu.edu in advance of your visit. An 8.5×11 promotional poster PDF is available for download or sharing with colleagues.