C4 Contemporary Art Logo map


future exhibitions
past exhibitions
artists
articles
workshops
membership



store
editions
multiples
books
apparel
postcards

phone number
about
news
subscribe
contact
visiting
sitemap
search

Matthew Betcher: 'Orotones'

'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'

Please note: Due to the modified gold leaf backing on these works, accurate photographic
documentation is nearly impossible, as the rear surface is highly reflective. The spatial
or 'deep' aspects of the work should be seen in person.

Matthew Betcher - Orotone 2: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)


Matthew Betcher - Orotone 4: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)


The ‘Orotone’ or ‘Orotype’

The prefix Oro-, from aurum in latin, meaning gold or golden refers to the gold leaf or gold electroplated reflective backing used in this process. This arcane process was developed by the well-known photographer of the Plains Indians, Edward Sheriff Curtis, pictured to the right. Curtis, born in Wisconsin in 1868, found fame as a photographer and ethnographer
of aboriginal peoples of North America.

In 1895 Curtis made his first portrait of a Native American, Princess Angeline, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle. In 1898 while photographing Mt. Rainier, Curtis came upon a small group of scientists. One of them was George Bird Grinnell, an expert on Native Americans. Grinnell became interested in Curtis’ photography and invited him to join an expedition to photograph the Blackfoot Indians in Montana in the year 1900.

self-portrait- print by edward sheriff curtis
indians on horses- orotone/orotype print by edward sheriff curtis In 1906, JP Morgan, under instructions of the european Rothschild family,  charged Curtis with the contract for the photography of 20 volumes of 1500 total images of the aboriginal peoples of America. This is the body of work which Curtis became best known for. Interestingly, in 1922/3 Curtis moved to Los Angeles under the employ of Cecil B. DeMille, whose offices were in the very building this gallery is housed in.

 



Matthew Betcher - Orotone 5: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)

 


Matthew Betcher - Orotone 6: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)


The Anatomy of an Orotone/Orotype


This photographic process, reminiscent of the
mirror-backed Daguerrotype, is traditionally
executed in a series of physical layers. The following is a rough description of Curtis' pioneering method.


First, gold leaf is applied to a rigid sheet
backing, mounted with banana oil. This is
laminated to a layer of glass coated with a
‘positive’ photographic emulsion enlarged or
contact printed from an original negative. The
deep, dimensional effect that is formed comes from the reflectivity of the gold leaf and the internal reflections that are created due to the spatial separation between the gold and image layers.

orotone process

 


Matthew Betcher - Orotone 7: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)


Matthew Betcher - Orotone 8: 'El Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula'
gelatin silver intermediary, gold leaf, glass, 60 " x 40 " (152x100 cm)


Please e-mail if interested in the acquisition of a work.
Each print is one off only; there are no editions available.

 








about
terms of use
       
directions
contact

C4 Contemporary Art
5647 Hollywood Boulevard 
Los Angeles, CA  90028 
e-mail: info@c4gallery.com