September 13th was Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday. To pay homage to the composer and pianist we are highlighting a photograph we have in our collection. This photo is a carte-de-visite, a thin paper portrait mounted on a thicker paper board.

Carte-de-visite of Clara Schumann

Carte-de-visite of Clara Schumann, taken by Fritz Luckhardt.


The photographer was Fritz Luckhardt, an Austrian whose studio was at the Hotel National in Vienna, as indicated on the back of the photograph. His studio is discussed in detail in the book The Photographic Studios of Europe. Famous authors and musicians were his specialty, as demonstrated by the large number of cartes-de-visite from his studio found in libraries and archives. In 1870 he was awarded the Imperial Title of K.K. Photographer (K.K. stands for kaiserlich-königlich meaning imperial-royal), therefore this photograph was produced after that title was awarded.

Verso of the cartes-de-visite.

Verso of the carte-de-visite of Clara Schumann.

The name of the Munich photographer Ferd. Finsterlin is impressed on the lower left of the photograph. The relationship between the two photographers is unknown to us. It’s possible this carte-de-visite was collected by Ferdinand Finsterlin in a similar fashion to a calling card and he stamped his ownership on the item.

Thanks to Joanne Bloom, Photographic Resources Librarian at the Fine Arts Library, Harvard University, for assistance in researching this photograph.

Pritchard, H. Baden. The Photographic Studios of Europe. The Literature of Photography. New York: Arno Press, 1973.