Anonymous - Reinecke-Quartett
8. Mai 1850
Daguerreotype. 11.1 x 14.4 cm visible mat opening (17.2 x 20.2 cm total dimension). Framed under a brown velvet mat with gold paper borders and ornaments. Personal dedication to August Lürmann, signed by the other sitters as well as a notation of the first four bars of the string quartet in F major Op. 59 no. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven, furthermore dated, in ink, on the reverse of the original backing. - Along the mat opening with oxidation and slight finger prints.
. Framed under glass.
The photograph shows the German pianist, composer, and conductor Carl Reinecke (1824 - 1910) with the members of the string quartet that he founded and named after himself. It was taken in the spring of 1850 in Bremen, where Reinecke had worked as a conductor since 1849. Shown are (from left to right) Carl Reinecke with viola, the cellist and later mayor of Bremen August Stephan Lürmann (1820 - 1902), the violinist Otto von Königslöw (1824 - 1898) and, as Reinecke describes him in his memoirs, Leonhard Borgström (1832 - 1907), an 'excellent dilettante' and businessman. The author of the shot is not known. However, there is reason to presume that this could be Johann Eberhard Feilner. At the time, Feilner was the leading daguerreotypist in Bremen, who opened his studio there in 1844 and made a name for himself far beyond the city limits with his large-format group portraits.
This is a very early depiction of a string quartet on which the members of the ensemble are depicted together with their instruments. This daguerreotype is as significant as it is charming as a testimony from the early days of photography. It is not only important from a photo historical perspective, but is also of interest for musicological research and friends of historical performance practice.
A charming detail can be found on the back of the frame. In addition to the signatures of the musicians depicted, there is also the notation of the first four bars of the string quartet in F-flat major Op. 59 no. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven. The fact that this is a cello part from the piece is conclusive insofar as the daguerreotype is dedicated to the cellist August Stephan Lürmann. A variant, created during the same portrait session, from Carl Reinecke's estate with a corresponding dedication is now in the Carl Reinecke Museum, Leipzig.
We would like to thank Mr. Stefan Schönknecht, Carl Reinecke Museum, Leipzig/Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Leipzig, for helpful information.
Private collection, Berlin