A charming antique picture entitled "The Whistling Barefoot Fishing Boy," this art photograph was taken by Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. (1862-1931), a pictorialist** photographer whose works won dozens of medals around the world. The photo was reproduced by the Alfred S. Campbell Art Co. of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Alfred S. Campbell (1840-1912) was an art photographer and inventor. He patented his “Art-Relievo” platinum photographic prints which were three-dimensional pictures in 'absolute relief' (embossed) that he sold in the late 1890's through the early 1900's.
This Eickemeyer photo was one of many different types of works that Campbell reproduced with the Art-Relievo process. The prints came in various sizes and they were fairly expensive for the time, ranging from $2 to $50 each. Many were sold in deep frames, like this one, which added to the cost. As a side note, Alfred Campbell hired Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. to work for him and he became the art manager of Campbell's portrait studio on Fifth Avenue in New York.
This platinum print is marked at the lower left; the tiny printing is barely visible above the edge of the frame and impossible for us to photograph clearly. We've indicated it in our photo with the arrow; it reads "Copyrighted 1901 Alfred S. Campbell Art Co." The surface of this print is raised in certain areas, primarily the figure of the happily whistling barefoot boy in his overalls and straw hat, with his fishing pole and a basket for his catch (we'd love to own that basket!) The embossed areas can be felt with your fingertips; the overall effect is that the boy is projecting from the country road background. Campbell also made photo cards for stereoscope viewers, so he was familiar with that technology.
The frame is quarter-sawn oak, the iconic wood of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and is original to the print (we've seen other Campbell prints in this exact frame.) We had our framer apply new dust paper and a coated hanging wire; we'll include the hanging hardware as well. The concave molding is almost 2 inches wide, with double wooden fillets of black and forest green. The framed size is 10 3/4 inches by 12 3/4 inches, with actual print size of 6 1/2 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches. It projects from the wall 1 1/2 inches and weighs about 1 1/4 pounds. These prints were not sold under glass, so there are some minute scratches on the print, magnified in our close-up photos, but not noticeable at arm's length. The frame is in good condition, with minor chipping at the corners and the upper right corner separating slightly but solid. It's a fascinating antique artwork made by a vanished process, not only decorative but highly collectible.
**From Wikipedia: "Pictorialism is an international style and aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries."