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“Of all the procedures for reproducing images, heliogravure, which was in wide use up until the 1950’s, has always seemed to me the most sumptuous, the most magical. Unfortunately, compared to other techniques it is now considered too expensive, and heliogravure has all but disappeared.”

— Editor Alain DHOUAILLY

For years, Alain Dhouailly had dreamed of editing a series of works devoted to the great photographers of our times, a collection that would employ a nearly forgotten technique: heliogravure.

This intaglio printing process, first developed by Niepce and in fact linked to the very beginning of photography itself, produces images of incomparable quality. Heliogravure is especially noted for its rich blacks, subtle shadings and expressive tonality. By rendering the transition from light to dark with imperceptible nuance, the technique achieves a degree of exquisite detail that modern industrial printing methods — such as rotogravure, letterpress or offset — simply cannot match.

It has been many decades since an edition of comparable quality and importance has been brought before the public. With Willy RONIS – Héliogravures, the first in our collection, we are pleased to renew contact with this nearly lost art.


© Willy RONIS

Quai de Montebello
1964
To learn more about the technique of Traditional Heliogravure, please click here.

A finished heliogravure coming off the press
©2004 Dhouailly & Cie