Heinrich Kühn


Conventional photography did not exist for Heinrich Kühn, an Austrian who was born in Germany in 1866. His experimentation with photographic technique was allied to an unrestrained and analytic observation of his surrounding reality. Yet Kühn’s work does not primarily address his own chosen medium but rather opens a dialogue with painting and drawing, as seen in the approximately 150 works in the retrospective “Heinrich Kühn: The Perfect Photograph” (currently on view at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston). His total experimentation, without preconceptions, emerged from the conviction that the photographic apparatus is only a tool like any other. “The mechanical device has no more significance for the photographer,” he said, “than the brush has for the painter.” Kühn was one of the secret precursors of modernism.

What moved the photographer was

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