Is a Neo-Romantic Photography Movement on the Horizon? Art Dealer Neil Folberg Believes It’s Already Here

Neo-Romanticism may well be back in photography—at least according to photographer Neil Folberg, who is also the owner of the Vision Gallery in Jerusalem.

But it isn’t simply back—Folberg believes the spirit of the movement was never truly extinguished.

Jennifer Schlesinger, Here nor There #11 (2012). Courtesy Vision Gallery.

Jennifer Schlesinger, Here nor There #11 (2012). Courtesy Vision Gallery.

During the first half of the 19th century, the Romantic movement blossomed across the arts, music, and history. Led by the likes of Caspar David Friedrich and William Blake, visual artists aimed to capture a transcendent union between nature, science, humanity, and the divine.

Yet over the decades, like all movements, the predominantly German tendency fell out of favor, and Folberg understands why some bristle at the term being applied today.

“A curator preparing an exhibition of my ‘Celestial Nights’ series riled me when she wrote that my photographs recall works by Caspar David Friedrich,” he says. “Friedrich made paintings of dusky, moonlit scenes populated with distinct little figures dwarfed by the magnificence of the scene in which they are present. The paintings are designed to inspire awe in the viewer.”

Beth Moon, Three Figures (2007). Courtesy of Vision Neil Folberg Gallery.

Beth Moon, Three Figures (2007). Courtesy of Vision Gallery.

At the time, Folberg thought Romanticism was old fashioned and a bit cloying. Over time, however, he came to see deep similarities between his works and those of the Romantics.

The 19th-century artists had placed human perception and feeling at the center of the universe in response to the Industrial Revolution. Folberg, meanwhile, saw that he, too, had sought to capture a sense of the unknown.

He wrote of his photographs of the American West that they “were meant to convey the feeling of being alone in a vast desert wilderness, with endless horizons. That is not so very different than the feeling of awe that Romanticism sought out.”

Neil Folberg, Scorpius Rising (1997). Courtesy of Vision Gallery.

Neil Folberg, Scorpius Rising (1997). Courtesy of Vision Gallery.

Folberg believes many photographers today are working—perhaps unknowingly—in that tradition, including Beth Moon, Agnieszka Sosnowska, and Jennifer Schlesinger, all of whom he represents. 

He also suggests that a Neo-Romantic attitude is necessary to survive our era. For guidance, he points to a quote from historian Rüdiger Safranski: “Romanticism as an epoch has passed away, but the Romantic as an attitude of mind remains. It almost always comes into play whenever discontent with reality and convention seeks to escape, change, or the possibility of transcendence.”

The post Is a Neo-Romantic Photography Movement on the Horizon? Art Dealer Neil Folberg Believes It’s Already Here appeared first on artnet News.

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

On Key

Related Posts

Autonomia and the future of creative work

AFTER THE FALL of Benito Mussolini’s government following World War II, a national referendum voted in favor of a republic. The ostensible rupture with Fascism, however, masked a continuity while

The Defining Art Events of 2022

How might you define the art world in 2022? In a word, messy. Take that literally, and it could refer to the various liquids splashed across artworks housed in the world’s finest museums during climate protests. Take it more metaphorically, and it could be applied to the scandals that faced multiple big biennials, the fallout

Met Plans van Gogh Show, Natural History Museum Names New President, and More: Morning Links for December 7, 2022

To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter. The Headlines BLOCKBUSTER TIME. In May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will stage an exhibition focusing on Vincent van Gogh’s famed depictions of the cypress trees in the South of France, with some 40 works. Major loans are coming from MoMA (1889’s The Starry Night!), the National Gallery in London, and the Kröller-Müller

Scroll to Top


Yes! Sign me up for AFYC's weekly newsletter featuring valuable info for artists, nonprofits, upcoming contests, and our new product offerings.

Count Me In!