Marquis André Roger Lannes De Montebello (1908-86) is not a name familiar to the art world. Although Philippe de Montebello, the former Metropolitan Museum director is well-known, few people have heard about his father Roger de Montebello, and his life-long creative obsession with three-dimensional photography.
As much inventor as artist, de Montebello developed a new type of camera that produced individual transparencies each consisting of 2,644 separate exposures. When such a transparency is seen through a “lens-viewing screen” (another invention of de Montebello’s), the multiple exposures merge into a single 3-D image that changes depending on the viewer’s position.
Despite the vast amounts of time and money he devoted to the project over a 40-year period, de Montebello was never fully satisfied with the results. Today, new technology – holograms and computer-assisted digital animation — have totally bypassed de Montebello’s conception, but the photographs that he produced and his finely executed working drawings are still intriguing.
Gallery 98 has assembled Roger De Montebello’s Quest for 3-D Photography with the help of M. Henry Jones who was de Montebello’s assistant during the last years of his life, and continues today to improve the “Integram” process by using new computer capabilities and fabrication techniques. Like de Montebello, Jones is an artist caught in the analog/digital divide. Visitors to Gallery 98 may remember our online exhibition of Jones’s early photo cut-outs.