Samuel Volkmann, portrait of Franz Grillparzer (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). For esthetic reasons the ugly ball pen note on the photograph has been removed.
This photograph in the carte de visite format, which was made during the 1860s, either in Graz or in Marburg, by the Austrian photographer Samuel Volkmann, is the only existing close-up bust portrait of Franz Grillparzer. The back of the photograph shows the ARTIS AMICA NOSTRAE logo of Samuel Volkmann who, at that time, ran Photographie parisienne studios in Graz and Marburg.
The back side of the above photograph with Samuel Volkmann's business stamp. The handwriting is that of Friederike Artner, the last private owner of the photograph.
None of the known photographs of Grillparzer from the same era, taken by Johann Bauer and Ludwig Angerer in Vienna, can compare in detail and true-to-life effect with Volkmann's slightly angled high-resolution portrait. The Viennese studio photographers, whose customers mostly belonged to the social upper class, used to put their models into a discreet distance.
Johann Bauer, portrait of Grillparzer from 1861 (A-Wn, Pf 429 E2). Johann Bauer, an Austrian pioneer of photography of eminent significance, has until now not been the object of biographical research. Bauer was born on 24 November 1810 in Mondsee, son of a local watchmaker. After having worked as a schoolteacher, in 1838 he went to Vienna where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1857 he established a studio on the Mölkerbastei. His second wife Amalia (1823–1870) was a sister of Ludwig Angerer. In 1868 Bauer moved to Mondsee and later to Gmunden where he lived in the home of his daughter Louise Eberstaller. Bauer died on 3 December 1901 in Gmunden.
Ludwig Angerer, portrait of Grillparzer from 1861 (Albertina, FotoGLV2000/4815). A similar photograph from this session (A-Wn, Bildarchiv Pf 429 B10) could be the one which, on 25 August 1862, Grillparzer referred to in a letter to Wilhelm Schaefer: "You sent me your photograph and asked for mine. I didn't have a good one, or rather none at that time. Since then, one has been made. It isn't t good either, since it doesn't show the eyes, and the face only expresses the displeasure about sitting and being photographed. Nevertheless I enclose it here." The Vienna Theatermuseum holds a third photograph from this session (A-Wtm, FS_PV262434alt) which shows Grillparzer on a different chair on the right side of the table.
Only the Viennese photographer Franz Schultz (1813–1865), whose studio was located at Auerspergstraße 19, dared to portray Grillparzer from a slightly closer distance.
Portrait of Grillparzer by Franz Schultz from around 1860 (Raccolte Grafiche e Fotografiche del Castello Sforzesco. Civico Archivio Fotografico, Milano, fondo Lamberto Vitali, LV 13/95)
Schultz's photograph is inspired by Friedrich von Amerling's oil painting from 1856.
Friedrich von Amerling, Franz Grillparzer (Wien Museum, Inv. Nr. 27.496). Similar to Amerling's painting is the portrait, presumably a work of Daniel Penther, of which the gallerists Miethke & Wawra produced a postcard (A-Wtm, FS_PV262435alt).
The history of the photograph
Research concerning the history of this photograph must deal with the following three questions.
- When was this photograph taken?
- To whom was it given by Grillparzer?
- How did the photograph end up in the Austrian National Library among material related to Guido Peters?
The dating of the photograph
The photograph was presumably taken in spring of 1864 in Graz, when Grillparzer was on his way to his annual spa sojourn in Römerbad in lower Styria (today Rimske Toplice in Slovenia). Although Grillparzer's regular visits to Graz already began many years earlier – Grillparzer's friend Karl von Holtei lived in Graz from 1850 to 1860 – the timespan in which the photograph was taken can be limited to 1864, because the recipient of the photograph Carl Peters was appointed professor in Graz only on 28 February 1864. Grillparzer's previous stays in Graz can be ruled out, because from 1856 to 1864 Peters was living in Pest. Grillparzer had already stayed in Römerbad in the summer of 1863, where on 16 June 1863, he had suffered a fall which resulted in a concussion that impaired his hearing for the rest of his life. The photograph in question shows the stare of a man whose senses appear to be already impaired. On 30 December 1863, Grillparzer, in a letter to Luise Schönfeld-Neumann, described his state as follows: "Deaf on one ear, I can hardly hear half with the other, my head is confused and stupid."
A pre-war view of the kurhaus of the Römerbad spa in Rimske Toplice in Slovenia. Visible in the foreground are the stairs which, on 16 June 1863, Franz Grillparzer accidentally fell down. Grillparzer suffered a cerebral concussion together with a hearing loss from which he never recovered. These stairs can be identified with the help of Grillparzer's letter of 2 June 1864. Today this area is a parking lot.
In 1864 Grillparzer for the last time took the waters in southern Styria. In 1865 he went to Teplitz, in 1866 he stayed in Hall, and in 1867 and 1869 in Baden bei Wien. On his way home in June 1864, Grillparzer had no time to make a stop in Graz. In his letter to Katharina Fröhlich of 20 June 1864, Grillparzer announced his departure from Römerbad on 25 June and his arrival in Vienna on 26 June 1864, a schedule that left no time for a stopover in Graz. Therefore the most likely scenario is that Grillparzer had the photograph already made on his way to Römerbad. Of course, any later, previously unknown stay in Graz after 1864 could have been an occasion to have the photo taken.
The sideburns that Grillparzer wears on the photograph are new to modern eyes. There is no other photo of the poet that documents this particular beard fashion which is obviously the result of a summery fashion whimsy. Grillparzer's somewhat perplexed gaze, his stare into space ("das Narrenkastel" as he would have put it), is the most moving quality of the photo. This stare is intensified by the pupils that were enhanced by the photographer's retouching. It is interesting to compare Grillparzer's facial features to those of his two uncles Ignaz and Leopold Sonnleithner.
To put Grillparzer's somehow desperate gaze into the right perspective, we must consider that, concerning his summerly health trips, he made the following written statements: "I go about my stay in the country almost like a business that you should try to shake off as soon as possible." (to Katharina Fröhlich, 15 July 1857). "To hell with all the cures, they are as bad as the diseases." (to K. F., 12 June 1858). "Otherwise everything is the same here; the food bad, the coffee I just drank, disgusting." (to K. F. from Römerbad, 11 June 1861). "How unbearable the stay here was, can hardly be described. Constant rain, cold as in wintertime." (to K. F. from Römerbad, 30 June 1862). "The hour of redemption has finally come." (to K. F., before his departure from Teplitz, 3 July 1864)."I will remember this spa trip with shivers for the next 29 years." (to K. F., after a 29-day stay in Teplitz, 3 July 1864). "Finally the end of the most horrible time I have ever experienced is approaching." (to K. F. from Hall, 9 July 1866).
The photograph shows Grillparzer dressed in a rustic vacation attire which can be described as "noble Styrian". The vest, which is obviously green, has rustic ornaments and the jacket is made of the kind of rough material that a k.k. Hofrat would only wear during a summer vacation.
A close-up view of Grillparzer's rustic attire
The original recipient
Grillparzer probably had the photograph made as a keepsake for his friend Carl Ferdinand Peters who, as of February 1864, held a chair for mineralogy and geology at the University of Graz. The fact that the photograph of Grillparzer's came to the ONB from the estate of Guido Peters's half-sister Selma Artner, née Peters (1847–1913), proves that Grillparzer had the photo taken in Graz to present it to Guido Peters's father.
The physician, geologist, and mineralogist Dr. Carl Ferdinand Peters (1825–1881), father of the composer Guido Peters (photograph from 1856, published in Hubmann, 2001). Peters was a grandnephew of Beethoven's friend Karl Peters 1782–1849) and a nephew of the mineralogist August Emanuel von Reuss. For a later photograph of Carl Ferdinand Peters see the Peters entry in the catalog of the Vienna University Archive.
Grillparzer had been acquainted with Carl Ferdinand Peters since 1848, when they first met in Vienna. At that time, Carl Peters was in love with Maria Anna Kurzrock (b. 28 April 1828) whose mother Anna Kurzrock, née Schlauka (1801–1877), on 15 April 1834, appears in Grillparzer's diary under the pseudonym "Jessika". During the 1820s, Johann Baptist Kurzrock (1792–1862) and his wife were members of the closer circle of friends around Franz Schubert. Kurzrock, who at that time was employed with the I. & R. court chamber, had made Schubert's acquaintance through his close friends Franz and Fritz von Hartmann whom he had known since his employment in the early 1820s in Salzburg. The godparents of Kurzrock's children were three of Schubert's best friends: Karl Enderes, Anton Ottenwalt, and Franz Derffel (Lorenz 2001, 53). In 1850, Carl Peters's former flame Marie Kurzrock, the "gentle Marie with her forget-me-not blue eyes" (as Eduard von Bauernfeld described her), married Peters's uncle, the military officer Hermann Peters von Pitersen (1812–1897).
The provenance of the photograph
To find out more about the history of photograph and how it came into the Austrian National Library, one needs to look more closely at the genealogy of the Peters and Artner families. Grillparzer's friend Carl Ferdinand Peters, the first owner of the photograph, was married twice. On 15 May 1856, in the Graz Cathedral, he married Marianna von Blumfeld (Graz, Dom 1058, fol. 753). At the time of his wedding, Peters was professor of mineralogy at the University of Budapest, a position that he held until 1861, when he joined the faculty of the University of Vienna. With his first wife Carl Ferdinand Peters had the following five children: Selma (b. 1 Jun 1857, d. 20 Mar 1913), Otto (b. 5 Jul 1858, d. 11 Nov 1908), Hubert (b. 23 Sep 1859, d. 24 Oct 1934), Martha (b. 7 Nov 1860, d. after 1913), and Theodor (b. 18 Jun 1863, d. 26 Nov 1909). Marianna Peters, née von Blumfeld died on 21 November 1864 in Graz at the age of 32. On 5 November 1865, in Graz, Carl Ferdinand Peters married his first wife's younger sister Leopoldine von Blumfeld (1839–1892) (Graz, Dom 1073, fol. 84). With her he had two more children: Guido (b. 29 Nov 1866, d. 11 Jan 1937), and Erwin (b. 16 Jul 1868, d. 23 Jul 1868).
A picture of the painter Otto Peters and his half-brother Guido taken in June 1907 in the Atelier Veritas in Munich (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). Otto Peters's last main residence was Glonn near Munich. In November 1908, during a stay in Vienna, he committed suicide by hanging in the apartment of his brother, the gynecologist Dr. Hubert Peters.
Carl Ferdinand Peters died on 7 November 1881 in Graz. The fact that the collection named "Dokumente aus dem Nachlass von Guido Peters" contains three different pictures of his daughter Selma Peters and her husband, proves that it was her who in 1881 inherited the Grillparzer photograph. Selma Peters is the key person for further tracking the provenance of the photo.
A photograph of Selma Peters taken in 1898 by James Russell and Sons in London (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV)
On 28 October 1908, in St. Stephen's in Vienna, Selma Peters married Dr. Franz Xaver Artner (b. 10 Oct 1880), professor of Latin and history at Vienna's Theresian Academy, who was 23 years her junior (A-Wd, Tom. 96, fol. 393). In the marriage records Selma Peters is described as "lady companion of Countess von Stubenberg" (most likely Mathilde von Stubenberg, nèe Baroness Tinti).
Franz Xaver Artner (1880–1948), Selma Peters's husband and Guido Peters's brother-in-law (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). The note "Schw[a]ger des Guido Peters u.s.w." was written by Franz Artner's granddaughter Friederike Artner.
Selma Artner, who had obviously inherited her mother's heart condition, died on 20 March 1913 in Vienna (St. Elisabeth 26, fol. 40). With the exception of her mother's wedding jewelry (which she bequeathed to her niece Elisabeth Peters) her husband Franz Artner inherited all her belongings.
Selma Artner, née Peters (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV)
Two pages from Selma Artner's 1908 marriage contract which was valid as her will (A-Wsa, BG V, 1A, 121/13)
Franz Artner's second wife was Wilhelmine von Dabrowska (b. 17 Nov 1890, d. 2 Nov 1972) whom he married on 25 June 1916 in Raach am Hochgebirge in Lower Austria (Raach, Tom 4, fol. 27). At the time of his wedding Artner was a volunteer cadet with the I. & R. artillery regiment No. 7 and his bride was working as a voluntary Red Cross nurse in Vienna. Interestingly enough, during the Nazi era, Wilhelmine Artner was to become one of Austria's more prominent resistance fighters. From 1938 until 1943 she was incarcerated in Ravensbrück, and in 1944 was arrested a second time (Korotin 2016, 140). In 1946 and 1949 she played a major role as witness in the first trial against Hermine Braunsteiner (Mailänder Koslov 2005, 145ff.).
The photos from Wilhelmine Artner's Gestapo file (DÖW, database of Gestapo victims)
Franz and Wilhelmine Artner had a son, Friedrich, who was born on 23 September 1917 in Vienna. Their other two children, Elisabeth and Dolores, died in early infancy in 1919 and 1921 (St. Elisabeth 32, fol. 50, and 34, fol. 29). Wilhelmine Artner's years of imprisonment seem to have led to an estrangement of the couple, because at the time of Franz Artner's death on 30 January 1948 (A-Wsa, BG I, 12A, 92/48), Artner shared his apartment at Viktorgasse 20 with his housekeeper Magdalena Krainer, while his wife was living with their son at Reichsbrückenstraße 14 (today Lassallestraße 14). Because Franz Artner had left no will, three quarters of his estate went to his son Dr. Friedrich Artner, and one quarter to his widow. The legal procedures only came to a close after the Artner family had reached a settlement with the housekeeper who had made all sorts of claims to her deceased employer's movables.
A page from Franz Artner's probate file concerning the distribution of his estate (A-Wsa, BG I, 12A, 92/48)
On 2 February 1945 (St. Elisabeth, Tom. 31, fol. 70), Dr. Friedrich Artner, a physician, had married the lawyer Dr. Paula Karner (1920–2013). The couple had one child, Friederike Artner, born 2 November 1945, who is still alive today. It was Friederike Artner who, probably after the death of her mother in 2013, gave the documents related to the Peters and Karner families to the Austrian National Library. The current civil status law and the data protection makes further research into the Karner family impossible. Fortunatlely the headstone of the Artner family grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery provides several genealogical data that are missing in the online database of the Friedhöfe Wien GmbH. The inscription not only provides the previously unknown date of death of Wilhelmine Artner (who according to the database seems to have been exhumed from another cemetery in 2008), but also the date of birth of the last member of the family, Friedrich Artner's daughter Friederike. It is notable that at the bottom of the stone the family members are commemorated who were buried in now lost graves, with Selma Peters among them. The von Fürstenrecht family members were relatives of Wilhelmine Artner whose mother had been a Baroness von Fürstenrecht. Louise Steciuk was Wilhelmine Artner's aunt.
The headstone of the Artner family grave in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (84/2/11) which is a source for several previously unknown biographical dates.
Beside the photo of Grillparzer, the Peters collection in the ONB contains two more unique photographic items: 1) An unknown portrait of the poet Marie von Ebner Eschenbach, taken in Stefanie Ludwig's Atelier Veritas in Munich, and 2) a postcard of what must be the earliest surviving photograph of the Austrian poet Robert Hamerling. This is the portrait that served as model for the engraving which in 1878 was distributed by the German publisher Spamer.
The photographer Samuel Volkmann
Very little is known about Samuel Volkmann so far. A quick Google search leads to the following biographical note (based on Starl 2005, 493) on a blog about photography history:
Around 1860 Samuel Volkmann arrives in Graz to open a photographic studio. It operates under the name »Photographie Parisienne«, and photographers such as Louis Fragney, Charles Corand and Anna Volkmann work for S. Volkmann. The first address is Graz, Mur-Quai 444, or Strassoldo Quai 444, or Neuthorgasse 444, then Graz, Fischmarkt 3, finally Graz, Hafnerplatz 4. Branches are kept in Marburg and Leoben.It is time to shed some light on the life of a still underrated pioneer of Austrian photography. Samuel Ignaz Volkmann was born on 8 May 1828 in the Viennese suburb of Gumpendorf, son of the master weaver Ignaz Volkmann and his wife Anna, née Bauer (Gumpendorf 19, fol. 289). Ignaz Volkmann (1798–1854), who had married on 8 May 1825 (St. Josef zu Margareten, Tom. 7, fol. 18), was the eldest of three brothers, Ignaz, Franz and Peter Volkmann, who, between 1824 and 1837, came to Vienna from the village of Mährisch Rothwasser (today Červená Voda). Samuel Volkmann was the first of his parents' twelve children who were born between 1828 and 1846. His place of birth was the house Hirschengasse 305 (last No. 382, today Hirschengasse 24). Volkmann did not follow the artisanal path that was prevalent in his family, but became a bookkeeper in a trading firm. On 14 May 1854, in the Gumpendorf parish church (Gumpendorf, Tom. 23, fol. 86), he married his cousin Anna Bauer (b. 23 Jul 1835), the daughter of a weaver from Gumpendorf. Because the couple had a common grandfather (the master weaver Paul Bauer), Volkmann needed a papal dispensation to be able to get married. He seems to have been very successful in his job, because he was able to spend his honeymoon in Bad Ischl (Ischler Fremden-Blatt, 1 June 1854).
The entry concerning Samuel Volkmann's wedding on 14 May 1854 in the Gumpendorf parish church (Gumpendorf, Tom 23, fol. 36). On the far right is the note concerning the "Dispens v. päpstlichen Stuhle wegen der Verwandschaft". This document is likely to survive among the Gumpendorf marriage records in the Vienna Municipal Archives (A-Wsa, Serie 188.8.131.52.A1).
After his wedding Volkmann moved from his father's house Gumpendorf 67 (today Marchettigasse 5) to Laimgrube 77 (today Linke Wienzeile 44) which is documented by the entry concerning the baptism of their first child Franz August on 14 March 1855 (St. Josef ob der Laimgrube 28, fol. 179) and Samuel Volkmann's signature as witness to the wedding of his brother Ignaz on 12 April 1856 (Gumpendorf 25, fol. 46).
Samuel Volkmann's signature in the 1856 marriage entry of his brother Ignaz Volkmann (Gumpendorf, Tom 25, fol. 46)
In May 1857 Volkmann moved to Graz (Grazer Tagespost, 30 May 1857), where, together with the bookseller Karl Tendler (1825–1904) he acquired the so-called Ferstl'sche Buchhandlung (Ferstl's bookshop) at Herrengasse 223. Tendler and Volkmann not only established a book and art dealer's shop, but also a sheet music rental that was to become the largest institution of this kind in Styria. The business opened on 12 September 1858 which two days later was reported in the local press (Tagespost [Graz], 14 September 1858).
A newspaper ad for Karl Tendler's and Samuel Volkmann's sheet music rental in Graz (Grazer Zeitung, 3 November 1858, 1898)
How Volkmann was able to finance this business enterprise is not clear. Apart from investments of silent partners, he seems to have also used his share of the inheritance of his father Ignaz Volkmann who, on 6 November 1854 (Gumpendorf 22, fol. 112), had died a very successful owner of a house and a linen factory. Samuel Volkmann's addresses in Graz can be traced on the basis of his children's baptismal entries in the Graz parish records. During their stay in Graz (in addition to their first two Vienna-born children Franz and August), Samuel and Anna Volkmann had the following six children.
- Aloisia, b. 10 May 1858, Salzamtsgasse 26 (Dom 6, 1373)
- Carolina Maria, b. 3 Sep 1859, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1394)
- Maria Anna, b. 8 Sep 1861, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1431), d. 7 Oct 1861 (Dom 3, 537)
- Maria Anna, b. 11 Dec 1863, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1482), d. 1 Jan 1864 (Dom 3, 6)
- Anna Maria, b. 20 Feb 1866, Neuthorgasse 444, (Mariae Himmelfahrt 7, fol. 106)
- Heinrich b. 5 Sep 1869, Neuthorgasse 444, (Mariae Himmelfahrt 7, fol. 157)
Samuel Volkmann's death notice (Tagespost Graz, 28 June 1874)
Anna Volkmann continued to run her husband's photo studio until her death on 27 June 1879 (Mariae Himmelfahrt 5, fol. 185).
The studio insignia of Anna Volkmann in 1877. The profiles of Niepce, Daguerre, and Talbot had already graced the backside of her husband's photographs (© Bildarchiv SAGEN.at)
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© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2020. All rights reserved.