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Bromoil

(Fr.: oléobromie)

(1907-today) The word bromoil comes from the fact that the process makes use of a bromide paper and an oil paper (i.e., paper coated with soft gelatin for the OIL PROCESS). The process relies on the principle that insolubilized gelatin does not swell in water, and will retain a greasy ink, while soluble gelatin swells in water, and repels the ink. In the oil process the insolubility comes from the exposure of dichromated gelatin to light under a negative, while in the bromoil process, the insolubility comes from a chemical reaction between a SILVER BROMIDE image and the gelatin that contains it. The silver is eventually removed, leaving a gelatin layer hardened proportionally to the degree of light-formed silver that was present in it.

Since the pigmented ink is applied with a brush, a considerable amount of control is possible over the final image. This extreme flexibility made it one of the most popular control processes  in photographic salons from 1907 to the 1950s. The acceptance of photography as an important art form has contributed much to its contemporary revival, although the level of skills it requires prevents it from obtaining the level of popularity it deserves.

More information on this process can be found in our book History and Practice of Oil and Bromoil Printing. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx).

Bromoil transfer. image 340 x 267 mm. Signed Raymond E. Hanson. No date Bromoil transfer. image 340 x 267 mm. Signed Raymond E. Hanson. No date

Bromoil transfer. image 340 x 267 mm. Signed Raymond E. Hanson. No date.