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Hedrich Blessing Interiors: Architectural Photography of the 1930s
Friday, January 11 to Saturday, March 8, 2008

Art Deco interiors photographed by Ken Hedrich.


The 1930s was the first full decade of business for the greatest architectural photography  firm in America.  Chicago's Hedrich Blessing was the choice of the best architects and designers to document their creations.  And like their famously cinematic exterior shots of the modern buildings that made them known the world over, HBs interior views often resembled movie sets.

Hollywood not only  influenced the high design of the best decorators and interior architects, its lighting and staging were mimicked by the architectural photographers who were instrumental in communicating the look of "Art Deco" to the rest of the world.

Ken Hedrich, the founding partner of Hedrich Blessing, created most of these stunning images of design studios, theaters and office lobbies for clients all over America.

ArchiTech Gallery  is the exclusive commercial dealer for Hedrich Blessing, selling its original exhibition and reference prints and portfolio, "Forty Years of Design."

"Hedrich Blessing Interiors: Architectural Photography of the 1930s" opens  Friday, January 11th and runs through Saturday, March 8th, 2008.

Link to Chicago Tribune's Alan Artner Review

Link to Hedrich Blessing's Bio Page

Link to Foto Chicago

Link to Hedrich Blessing: Painting with Light

art deco photography at ArchiTech Gallery, Chicago

Notes on the Exhibition: Hedrich Blessing Interiors: Architectural Photography of the 1930s

Friday, January 11 to Saturday, March 8, 2008

Since ArchiTech is Hedrich Blessing's dealer, I make it a point to feature their period prints whenever I do any photography show. But their last solo exhibition here, "The Art of Hedrich Blessing," was in the Summer of 2003. That long wait has been a source of embarrassment to me lately so they were long due for another one. Their 1930s interiors were the perfect material for a new exhibition and they would be the polar opposite from my previous gallery show of Wright's early work.

I had found a box of their large proof prints of interiors and one was of Chicago's Esquire Theater lobby. Though long ago altered, the building is scheduled to be demolished soon and the exhibition print of the spectacular room assumed even more poignancy.

Some of my favorite photographs in the archives are the small 8 x 10 "reference" prints that had been made for the file cabinet folders in the HB job files. Though some prints are slightly dented from handling of the folders, they are extremely rare and often qualify as "unique" prints in the parlance of photography collectors.

The photographs picture "high style" interiors and I thought that the best way to showcase them was to outfit the front half of the gallery with lush floral arrangements and my rarest 1930s objects and sculptures. Though it's not always wise to step up the decor quotient in any serious art gallery presentation, these images could benefit from the context it provided. The result became one of the most luxurious exhibitions I've produced. But though beautiful, the abundance of lilies in my small space made the first whiff resemble the aroma of a funeral parlor.

When the Tribune art critic came by to review the show, he too was struck by the loss of some of the ravishing interiors due to remodelings and demolitions over the decades. He also noted the Hedrich Blessing mastery of the two distinct points of view that make a great picture: "But then there's a shot of the Libby Owens Ford showroom at the Merchandise Mart that banishes glamor, becoming as sparely geometric as the paintings of Piet Mondrian. The rest of the show indicates that virtually no other firm of the time could respond to those poles better."

He refrained from commenting on the smell.

Click on image
to enlarge

hedrich blessing
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
A.O. Smith Building Lobby, Milwaukee
Neg: 1930 Exhibition print, 1999

hedrich blessing
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
1301 Astor St. lobby
Neg: circa 1930s
Later print

shoreland lobby
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
Diana Court, Michigan Square Building
Neg: 1930 Print: 1991 10/25

hedrich blessing
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
Esquire Lobby
Neg: circa 1930s  Later exhibition print
26 x 20 inches

shoreland lobby
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
Esquire Stairs
Neg: circa 1930s Later print

frank lloyd wriight interior
Hedrich Blessing
Bill Hedrich: Photographer
Edgar Kaufman office, Pittsburgh
Neg: 1937  Later print
8 x 10 inches

shoreland lobby
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
Francis Hooper Agency
Neg: 1930 Period print

hedrich blessing
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
G. McStay Jackson office
Neg: 1933 Later print

shoreland lobby
Giovanni Suter: Photographer
Libby Owens Ford showroom
Neg: 1938 Print: 1999 9/25

shoreland lobby
Ken Hedrich: Photographer
Hodge Residence Stairway, Highland Park
Neg: 1932 Print: 1991 23/25

shoreland lobby
Hedrich Blessing
Hotel powder room
Neg: circa 1930s Later print

shoreland lobby
Hedrich Blessing
Shoreland Hotel Lobby
Neg: 1937 Later print

shoreland lobby
Hedrich Blessing
Silhouetted Typist
Neg: circa 1930s Exhibition print: 1999

 



 


David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
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312-475-1290
ArchiTechGallery@earthlink.net


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