Orotone, noun        

Orotone 2

An orotone (or gold tone) is one of many types of photographic print processes that can be made from a negative. It is created by printing a positive on a glass plate that’s been pre-coated with a silver gelatin emulsion. The making of orotone prints was considered contemporary art in the early 20th century. Orotones are often to be seen in interiors associated with the Arts & Crafts movement. Many of these orotones were by the Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis (Am., 1868-1952), who produced hundreds of orotone photographs of Native Americans.

The orotone shown here is one of several by Curtis that were offered at Clars Auction Gallery’s January 14-15 sale of important and rare photography, online and at the Clars gallery in Oakland, Calif. This print is titled Out of the Darkness; it sold for $10,710. Curtis developed what he called the "Curt-Tone" process, explaining, “The ordinary photographic print, however good, still lacks depth and transparency, or, more strictly speaking, translucency. But in the Curt-Tone, all the transparency is retained and they are as full of life and sparkle as an opal.”

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