Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

The Photography Collection

Head: Margita Cvijetinović Starac, curator

Photography, one of the most sensational discoveries of the 19th century, as a museum subject has been unduly neglected for many years. In this department the systematic processing of this material began during the preparation of the Photography in Rijeka exhibition held in 1990 upon the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Daguerre’s discovery. However only in recent times with the acquisition of equipment (metal cabinets, acid-free boxes and covers) has it been physically brought together and given adequate protection and storage. In the holdings are photographs of the Museo Civico, the City Museum of Sušak and those obtained after their unification. The method of acquisition is customary – purchases (Reš, Crnčić, Pobor, Contus…), gifts (Szabo, Vitasek, Medanić, Štrcalj(j), GNO Rijeka, Glažar, Zmajić, Arsen and Vinko Smokvina, Rossi, Tomeé, Jatka, Mađarević, …) and smaller legacies (Smerdel, Braović).
The collection consists of four units: photographs, glass negatives, photo albums and cameras. The largest group consists of photographs arranged by format with a specially structured author/name and themed catalogue. Photographers are represented from Vienna, Augsburg, Brno, Dresden, Graz, Pest, Trieste, Gorizia and Venice, Constantinople, Liverpool and Marseilles. Photographers from Zagreb occupy a notable place (Herman Fickert, Julius Hühn, Ferdo Kelemen, Franjo D. Pommer, R. Mosinger and others), Karlovac (Franz Braun, Hinko Krapek, Anton Suppan), Pula (Giov. Bonivento, A. Circovich, C. Gallinaro, L. Mioni, E. Zamboni). Then there are Franjo Šnidarić from Otočac and Enrik Weiser from Split who also worked in Trieste.
Upon processing the materials special attention is given to the most numerous, the photographers of Rijeka. From Salamon Hering who, probably about 1858, was the first in Rijeka to pave a path into the unknown world of photography to Fantini, Petricich or Marchini who worked in the 1940s.
From the early Rijeka photographers Friedrich Gsund is represented in the collection by two stereoscopic photographs (Pogled s Kalvarije na Sušak i Deltu (View from Calvary of Sušak and Delta) and Komunalna kasarna (Communal barracks), who photographed the ceremonial dedication of the flag of Rijeka County on Grobnik Field on 25th May 1862. The collection also contains what is currently considered to be the oldest veduta of Rijeka photographed by photographer Ignazio Pollak in 1865. Presented by their portraits are Wilhelm (Giuglielmo) Vessel, Giacomo Luzzatto and Heinrich (Enrico) Garimberti who recorded the arrival of Emperor Franz Joseph in Rijeka in 1869.
Representatives of photography from the 1870s are Francesco B. Giurandich, Viennese photographer Josef Löwy, documenter of the construction of the Karlovac-Rijeka railway track, painter and photographer Carlo Zamboni, Ferdinando Ramann and Ilario Carposio.
By the number of preserved photographs in the holding the most present is Ilario Carposio, the most respected and popular of Rijeka’s photographers who in 1878 bought the studio of Giuseppe Luzzatto in Dolac and who worked in it for over forty years. In his atelier photographs, mostly in the format of calling cards or cabinet format, we come across portraits of famous people of Rijeka – Ciotta, Verneda, Barčić, Branchetto… With his camera Carposio recorded a chronicle of the city creating accounts of first-class cultural-documentary value. Amongst the remaining other things he photographed Korzo, the reconstruction of the City Tower, Teatro Fenice, Teatro Comunale, the Adamić Theatre, Palazzo Modello, Filodramatica, Hotel Kontinental, Mrtvi Kanal and the school in Dolac. He recorded events such as the welcome of Franz Joseph I in 1869, the Emperor’s visit to the Refinery in 1891, and the holding of industrial exhibitions. With Carlo Zamboni he prepared a representative album for the princely couple Archduke Rudolf and Stephanie in 1885. He exhibited at exhibitions in major European cities, and was awarded in 1882 in Trieste, in Budapest in 1885, in Naples in 1886 and 1887, in Florence in 1887 and Nice in 1887.
Of the photographers of the 1890s represented in the collection are Antal Funk, academic painter and photographer, Edmondo Jelusich, Giuseppe Segnian and Giulio Udvardÿ.
In the 1890s Leopoldo Marunich and Antonio D’Ancona were working.
At the beginning of the 20th century we highlight the photographic activity of the Marco Antonini, Rudolf Verderber, R. Eggenhofner, Tomislav Muhvić, Enrico Andrioni, D. M. Gürtler, Bogumil Zoubek, Antonio Kovačić, Leopold Marunich, Simeon Milković and Marijan Seksić.
Particularly valuable are unsigned daguerreotypes with the description Francisca de Paula G. Vigila, probably made in America in the mid-1840s, and a calotype Grupni portret (Group portrait) by Hungarian photographer Jos. Skopalla from 1852, an ambrotype Portret nepoznate žene (Portrait of unknown woman) by an unknown photographer from 1850, an calotype Gospođa Jelinek (Miss Jelinek) by Karlovac photographer Anton Suppan from 1856 and an unsigned ferrotype Grupni portret (Group portrait) from 1890.
In the Photography Collection of the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral are preserved photographs created over the period of one century. The photographs were created by various authors – 147 of them – professional amateurs, their contents are varied (portraits, panoramas, palaces, street scenes, events, the building of the port, society…) and varied sizes, from carte de visite size of 6 cm x 9 cm, to cabinet size to large album formats.
The preserved photographs are a document of time and a small piece of the continuous process in the development of science and culture, a valuable pictorial source for the study of the culture of life, missing vistas of the city and the ambience of the surroundings. They are the works are authors without which the reading of the history of Rijeka photography would be impossible.