Un rhinocéros au salon antica de Namur © Alphonse Alt
Rencontre avec "le Castel del Monte" © Alphonse Alt

Alfons Alt

Altotypiste ? Etcher of images

Visual Arts - Artists


« Alfons Alt extends the language of the image that separates painting from photography and photography from painting without ever pushing or surpassing these boundaries.” (Sally Bonn, extract from Bestiaire, pub. Actes Sud)


Surrounded by pigments and gelatine silver prints, leaning over an exposure unit, Alfons Alt works away in his workshop at la Friche. He patiently etches images with a brush to fix the pigments using a process that was invented in the mid 19th century. He has updated this technique to create unique works of art in which he combines painting, photography and etching.  

Every altotype is made using a stencil (these are mostly Alfons Alt's own photos developed in his darkroom). Every work is then touched up with a paintbrush on a variety of media – paper, wood, porcelain, glass. On metal - copper and brass - Alfons Alt etches with acid using the same type of stencil.

Alfons Alt is an artist and photographer. He was born in Germany in 1962, and moved to France in 1985 where he worked as a freelance photographer focussing on publishing and fine art. He learned these old techniques with Jean-Pierre and Claudine Sud, and then with Jordi Guillumet in Barcelona.

In 1993, he began to hone his skills following historical processes in an experimental workshop at la Friche in Marseille. Alfons Alt defines himself as an ‘altotypist', a kind of ‘art faber' of the image. The altotype is a work in which photography melds with other materials: paper, pigments, wood, copper...
Since 1988, he has taken part in a number of one-man shows and group exhibitions (France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium.), and has published many books. Since 1999, he has been an active member of Paleo Psycho Pop (A European Network of Visual Artists) and is the founding member of the FIUWAC collection (Free International University World Art Collection).

His work is exhibited in several museums and public and private collections.


At la Friche since: 1993

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