Skip to product information
1 of 4

Com certificado de autenticidade e garantia

An original photograph of the Alberto Henschel brand

An original photograph of the Alberto Henschel brand

Regular price R$ 0,00 BRL
Regular price Sale price R$ 0,00 BRL
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

> This item is no longer in the catalogue, see the available documents here <

At the end of the 19th century, the studio or Alberto Henschel himself portrayed an elegant black man, in the format of a business card.

Photograph from the studio or Alberto Henschel himself. Portrait of an unidentified black man. 6.3 cm x 10.4 cm. No information on date or location, but it is estimated that it was taken between 1866 and 1890. Excellent condition.

The history of photography in Brazil begins in 1833, with Hercule Florence, a French pioneer unknown to most. In the following years, a dozen photographers began working in various parts of Brazil. Mostly Europeans, French and Germans.

Alberto Henschel was one of them. Born in Germany in 1827, arrived in Brazil in 1866, and died in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (there is a doubt among historians) in 1882. He is known for his photographs that documented the culture, social and economic life of the Brazil, at the end of the 19th century. He was also one of the first photographers to document the Amazon and its inhabitants. He ended up earning the title of Photographer of the Imperial House, allowing him to photograph the daily life of the Brazilian monarchy during the reign of D. Pedro II. He even photographed the emperor and his family.

But in my opinion, his main contribution to the history of Brazilian photography was the photographic record of black people, slaves and free people, differentiating himself from other photographers by portraying them freely and with dignity, as people and not as objects. This photograph is a beautiful example.

I found this photograph in England. I searched countless sources to try to get more information about her, without success. I couldn't find another copy of it. And it could be one of Henschel's earliest photographs, from the late 1860s, or a later photograph of him or one of his assistants. When he died, his company was sold to other businessmen, who continued to strategically use his name for a few years, taking advantage of the great prestige that the "Henschel" brand had acquired.

On the back of the photo it says “carte de viver” in French (business card) and the rest is in English. During the period of the Empire in Brazil (1822-1889), the country's official language was already Portuguese. However, there was a great French influence on Brazilian culture and society at that time, especially among the elite and nobility. Many members of the Brazilian aristocracy were educated in France and spoke French fluently, in addition to adopting French customs and fashions. French was also often taught in Brazilian schools as a foreign language, along with English. Furthermore, France was an important trading partner of Brazil during that period, which also contributed to the presence of the French language in Brazilian society at the time.

Anyway, I admit that I have little information about this small photograph, but I hope that its aesthetics, its dignity and its author, Alberto Henschel, one of the pioneers of photography in Brazil, catch your attention as they did mine.

View full details

Contact Form