Campbell Art Co.
Campbell Art Co.
The Campbell Studios as it was called in the beginning was founded by Alfred S. Campbell (English-American, 1840-1912). Campbell was an English art photographer, who in 1867 was invited to come to the United States and form a partnership with Napoleon Sarony, under the Sarony name. Sarony had a great desire to gain access to Campbell’s patented photographic process, but within four short years, their business relationship dissolved. Campbell soon decided to move to New Jersey, where he built a state-of-the-art studio that had an onsite photo imaging production facility in Elizabethtown calling it Campbell Studios. Campbell was also a commercial inventor, developing a panorama lens and he also held patents for numerous cameras, paper products and for platinum photo printing processes. The company specialized in scenic views, postcards, portrait cabinet cards, stereograph cards, platinum & carbon prints, reproductions of well known artist’s works, various hand colored prints finished in watercolor & oil, "Washington Prints" which included the best of the mural decorations in the Congressional Library, as well as Campbell's patented "Art-Relievo" platinum photographic prints which were 3-dimensional photographic reproductions in 'absolute relief' (embossed) of various famous works that he sold in the late 1890's. The Art-Relievo prints came in various sizes (6.5 x 8" up to 15 x 60") and they were pretty expensive back in the day, ranging in price from $2-$50 each.

The Alfred S. Campbell Art Company also had gallery 'Art Rooms' located at 377-379 Broadway in New York City, their portrait studio located at 564-568 Fifth Avenue as well as a prints division called Campbell Prints, Inc., located at 33 West Thirty-Fourth Street, and at 59 West 19th Street. There were also divisions in Baltimore, MD and Charlestown, WV. By 1900 the company branched out under the direction of William A. Morand in Manhattan at 538 5th Avenue and was called Campbell Studio. Morand had family & social connections in New York and built it into one of the most dominant companies in Manhattan at that time. Morand made a name for himself as one of the leading portraitists in the city. After Morand’s death in 1909, the company took an interest in theatrical photography and furthered their success with the entertainment industry with innovations in the new style of celebrity photography and portraiture. Around that same time, the company was primarily known as the Campbell Art Company. By 1915, they specialized in half-length portrait photos of screen and stage stars in the very fashionable dress styles of the times. They supplied theaters and magazines with their photographs routinely. They were a large force in the entertainment industry, but by 1925 the company had to take a corporate charter for $25,000 and by 1928 the company’s entertainment market had ended. They did manage to continue a commercial portrait studio through the 1930’s.

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 10/2006, meibohmfinearts.com)