21 October 2015 to 10 January 2016
1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz 8
P: +43 (0)1 505 87 47
F: +43 (0)1 505 87 47 7201
The photographer – a service provider who goes out into the world to capture it in images. The profession evolved in the mid-19th century, a few decades after the invention of the technology of photography. Andreas Groll was Vienna’s first professional photographer to make a lasting impact. Among the rapidly growing group of men who earned their livelihood with camera in hand, he was the first to whom a major oeuvre can be attributed with certainty. His pictures of buildings and cityscapes are noteworthy highlights of early photography among the Wien Museum holdings. Groll worked continuously between 1842 and 1871. The exhibition, which has been developed in collaboration with the Photoinstitute Bonartes, is the first major show of his work.
Andreas Groll began working as a professional photographer in 1853. Unlike portrait and studio photographers who were well established by then, taking pictures of their clients in front of the usual scenery and with the usual props, Groll seems not to have had a studio of his own. When, after having spent nine years as a laboratory worker at the Polytechnical Institute, he turned “all [his] strength to photography,” the resulting pictures were all “location” images, taken at places across Vienna and on extensive journeys between Prague and Krakow, Regensburg and the Banat region, along the tracks of the newly-built railway line between Vienna and Salzburg and at Rosenberg castle in southern Bohemia.
Out of more than 1,000 identifiable photos by Andreas Groll, about 180 have been selected for the exhibition. They demonstrate how early photographers, while following in the footsteps of draughtsmen and painters in their choice of motifs and compositions, also engaged in completely new tasks for which there were no pictorial traditions. Groll notably worked for architects and museum curators, as well as for industrial enterprises and in the then newly emerging field of monument preservation.
Vienna's first modern photographer