Cultural Capital and Photographic Technologies at the Berlin Photographic Company in the USA

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In this article I explore photogravure catalogues of the Berlin Photographic Company (BPC), a print publisher founded in 1862 specialising in reproductions of works of art, and in particular those published by its New York office from 1892 to 1916. In promoting its reproductions, the BPC connected social, aesthetic and technical knowledge, emphasising the quality of photogravure technologies while listing hundreds of images from diverse styles, historical periods, genres and subjects to appeal to a wide audience. The Company was sensitive to its customers’ cultural aspirations and recognised that the US market was different from that in Europe because of its less rigid class structure and a public motivated by ambitions for cultural knowledge and social mobility. With its wide range of reproductions from Old Masters, nineteenth-century popular and Academic artists, and later early twentieth-century modernists, the BPC appealed to these ambitions by providing photogravure prints–the company specialty–in different sizes, mounts and costs to a public of diverse tastes and economic means. The BPC’s innovations included its global locations in Berlin, Paris, London and New York and its creation of neologisms combining format and process tying the materiality of photogravures to a range of sizes and prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-59
Number of pages18
JournalHistory of Photography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Berlin Photographic Company/Photographische Gesellschaft Berlin (1862–1920)
  • art history
  • cultural capital
  • neologism
  • photographic catalogues
  • photogravure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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