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Silver-Platinum Prints

Constance McCabe

Alfred Stieglitz, Hodge Kirnon, 1917, silver-platinum print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.3.408
Key Set number 464

View all silver-platinum prints in the Key Set

During World War I, as the cost of platinum soared, commercial manufacturers looked for cheaper alternatives. “Satista” was the brand name of a commercially made silver-platinum paper introduced by the Platinotype Company in 1914 as a less-expensive substitute for platinum paper. Satista prints are a variant of both the platinum and salted paper printing processes. A sheet of paper is sensitized with successive applications of potassium chloride, silver nitrate, and dilute iron-platinum sensitizer. After exposing the sensitized paper through a negative and developing the image, the print was fixed with two clearing baths—one for platinum, the other for silver—followed by washing. Satista prints may be difficult to distinguish from platinum prints. Alfred Stieglitz made a few examples during World War I.

Suggested Reading

McCabe, Constance, Christopher McGlinchey, Matthew L. Clarke, and Christopher A. Maines. “Satista Prints and Fading.” In Platinum and Palladium Photographs: Technical History, Connoisseurship, and Preservation, edited by Constance McCabe, 124–127. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2017.