Dream of Hope

Hand-colored CDV-format albumen print ca. 1870, showing a dreaming woman and baby, with a wild moonlit sky visible through the window behind her and a storm-tossed ship in raging sea superimposed upper right. Titled front "Hoffnungstraum." and reverse "No. 1914 / Reve d'espoir. / Hoffnungstraum / Dream of hope. / Nach der Natur. / Gesetzl. deponirt."   Price: $450.   ( Inventory# ic462.1914 )

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Here a carefully and very skillfully contrived tableau is used to build an extremely moving image. The cloudy moonlit sky visible through window emphasizes the timeframe of "darkest night" while casting an aura of lunar mystery and the dream world over the image. The clouds which surround the moon, with their connotation of storm, likewise build a visual transition to the raging storm in which the dream-ship is tossed at right. As the mother falls asleep with one hand still on her child's cradle, her mind likewise wanders to her absent husband. Every detail in the image speaks. A cabinet door ajar at left reflects the confusion and disorder of storm and night, but also echoes the confusion and disorder of the fleeting visions in a nightmare. Even as viewer of the image, we seem captured in the same dream world inhabited by the mind of the sleeping woman, as she dozes in her chair.

An extraordinary image. Base tone of print has some fading, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate the tones about a 6.

 

Last updated March 22, 2017

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