Overpainting photographs - an artistic process in which an artist uses a photographic image as 'canvas', as 'given', to which he adds his 'response' - is an established and appreciated genre, in which artists including Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Peter Beard have contributed significant work.
An intervention most often leading to a total transformation of the original photo print, this practice is commonly used in editing press photographs today, albeit using digital technologies rather than hand painting.
Photographic prints were typically archived for possible re-use, and often were 'updated', or re-purposed, to better illustrate a new story for which they were not originally intended. This process was done by hand, with artists or editors using paint, chalk, grease pencil or various collage techniques.
In the case of artists such as those mentioned above, clearly, their overpainting is not intended to disguise but rather to highlight the encounter between contemporary artist and an often obscure original photographer.
Available for sale on this site are vintage overpainted photographic prints, obtained from the archives of some of the leading newspapers of the USA. The palpable agenda of the newspapers in this scenario is to erase, to conceal, to give a new meaning to these images. And in certain cases, these works can be appreciated as profoundly beautiful - as art.
I believe they are. The overpainted photographs I collect have great resonance to me, revealing both the attempted deceit and the gesture to re-purpose the original work in order to re-write history.
For purposes of comparison, we include here the images of contemporary overpainting onto photographic prints, so that you might be able to better mitigate the differences between works by Warhol, Kiefer, and Richter, for example, and altered works by highly respected but as yet uncelebrated photographers who contributed to our nation's collective memory through their overpainted images.