Leendert Blok: Les extravagantes / Silent Beauties
This book gathers flower portraits made in autochrome by Dutch photographer Leendert Blok who, since the early 1920s, has been experimenting with colour photography and the use of the panoramic format. Blok comes as close as possible to texture and develops a singular approach in which each flower becomes sculpture.
He portrays tulips, narcissus, dahlias, hyacinths, irises, and gladioluses. Beyond a documentary approach, Blok captures flowers like objects of desire through a minimal staging, a subtle play of light revealing the autochrome colourful shades. Muted tones and soft bronze hues evoke a timeless world of flora, in which corolla, petals and buds are sublimated by chiaroscuro. The flowers stand out against a plain dark background, alluding to the famous vanitas of the Dutch Golden Age.
An accompanying text by Gilles Clément places this work in the historical, artistic and botanical context of the time.
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