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Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
The Exhibit of April — presented in the entrance to the UPM’s Permanent Collection — is connected with the prepared exhibition Landscape/Image/Photography (Galerie Rudolfinum – Small Gallery, 22 April – 4 July 2010).

Jindřich Eckert (1833–1905)
No title, c. 1870s

Photograph, oil paints
Signed lower left: Eckert
Purchased in 2009
The image on view showing the Hvězda Summer Palace
is a unique example of the combination of photography
and painting. The intention of the photograph touched
up with oil paints was perhaps not only to produce
a coloured picture, but to achieve a genuine synthesis
of the photographic and painted image. This assumption
is supported by the brushwork and unified colour
treatment, accentuated with earthy tones of brown and
green. Photography studios of those days employed numerous
retouchers and colourists, including the painter
Josef Tulka.

Jindřich Eckert
(1833–1905)

Indisputably the most accomplished Czech photographer
of the 19th century, Jindřich Eckert, began his career
in the 1860s in Prague, where he opened his own
portrait studio. His varied work included a wide range
of genres and enhanced the field’s technical possibilities
(e.g. roentgenograms). However, Eckert became
best known for his topographical and landscape photography,
which he took up in the late 1860s. In the early
1870s, he published his first collection (Prague), using
the collotype printing process. Soon his topographical
pictures were used to accompany illustrated periodicals
(such as Světozor) and travel books. Eckert began creating
his most important landscape collections in the early
1880s, when he made a series of shots of the Šumava and
Krkonoše mountains, regions that had been very popular
with landscape painters already in the past. Eckert’s
choice of subjects and composition schemes was actually
based to a large degree on landscape painting. In
the 1890s, in his Collection of Physiognomically and Geologically
Interesting Landscapes of Bohemia, he explored
the structural aspects characterizing Bohemia’s countryside.
It was no coincidence that at the time the particularities
of Bohemia‘s topography were also central
to Czech landscape painting. Moreover, Eckert photodocumented
the production facilities of foremost industrial
companies (Ringhoffer, Křižík). Not only of aesthetic,
but also of documentary value are his photos of Prague
prior to the demolishing of a section of the Old Town that
appeared in the first illustrated books on Prague (Royal
Prague, 1898, The Prague Ghetto, 1902). Even during his
lifetime, Eckert received many awards and generated international
acclaim (some forty medals and a number of
honorary titles). He actively engaged in Prague’s social
life, and in 1872 was made an honorary citizen of Prague.
A prominent figure in the field of photography, Jindřich
Eckert influenced the activities of many photography
organizations and the first photographic journals.

Bibliography:
Pavel Scheufler, Jindřich Eckert, Odeon, Praha 1985;
Pavel Scheufler, Stará Praha Jindřicha Eckerta, Forma,
Praha 1993.
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