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Hermann Krone, self portrait, 1870, collotype, stereo

Hermann Krone (1827-1916) is one of the early practitioners of photography in the German-speaking countries. Already in 1843, he experimented with the new representational process. At that time, he was an apprentice to a lithographer. Thus he was among those who were interested in the advancement of reproductive and representational methods for professional reasons. At the same time, Krone took courses in natural sciences and philosophy at the university of his hometown Breslau, which was a good background for his later professional career and specialization.

As Krone had been running a studio in Dresden since 1852, he was above all interested in the commercial exploitation of photography. As a natural scientist, he was searching for theoretical explanations and experimental proof for the methods that he applied or even developed. In 1870 he was appointed to the Royal Polytechnic (Königliches Polytechnikum) in Dresden, where he taught his practical experience and theoretical knowledge of photography. He was eager to establish photography as an applied science and to make it an acknowledged field of academic research. He was constantly trying to improve the representational features of photography to broaden the range of its application.

His overall work was characterized by the paradigms of technological progress and a positivistic concept of the sciences. Although Krone was also a man of artistic abilities and skills (he took some courses at the Dresden Art College), his attitude to photography was not really marked by aesthetic considerations. He was rather a follower of functionalism, i.e., of a radically modern concept. This concept saw the technical process mainly as a means of recording information and a means of unlimited reproduction. The photographic image was seen as a "technical sign" (Margret Nesbit) serving the actual increase of knowledge.

Krone shared this clearly technical concept of images. He wanted to give the development of photography a direction that would result in photography as a mass medium. He searched for ways to simplify the photographic technology and its specific achievements of representing reality and to prolong the physical endurance of the image carrier. As later developments proved, he had the vision to focus his efforts on photographic copying methods and the letterpress printing processes.

The present situation gives clear proof that Krone’s intentions went far beyond photography as a representational technique and technological problems. The trends he represented may well be attributed to a general history of media. That is exactly why they prove to be so up-to-date. The development of a faster and extending production and reproduction of images, which Krone supported, was an expression of the propagating industrial production. It was this new type of production that laid the foundation for the immense expansive potential and also for the economic calculation of this development.

Curriculum Vitae


Hermann Krone, self portrait (as a student), 1850, daguerreotype
14.09.1827 Hermann Krone is born in Breslau as the son of a lithographer.
around 1830 Mother's death.
1843 Begins apprenticeship in lithography with his father.
First successful calotype photograph.
First Daguerreotypes.
1848 Astronomic photographs in the observatory in Breslau.
Acknowledgement by Alexander von Humboldt.
1849/50 Studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts (Kunstakademie zu Dresden).
1851 Photographic studio in Leipzig.
1852 Krone is given the citizen rights of the city of Dresden.
Opening of the Institute for Photographic Portraiture and Teaching (Photographische Porträt- und Lehranstalt).
Begins to work with the wet collodion process.
1853 First landscape photographs of the "Saxonian Switzerland" (Sächsische Schweiz).
In the following years numerous photographs are taken in the "Saxonian and Bohemian Switzerland" (Sächsische und Böhmische Schweiz).
1854 Marriage with Clementine Blochmann, with whom Krone will have four children.
1855 First trials with collodion dry plates.
Krone is designated agent for photographic lenses at the Royally Appointed Optical Industrial Institute (Königlich privilegierte Optische Industrie-Anstalt) in Rathenow.
1850's/60's Krone is concerned with the photographic rendition of colours. Using photography, he compares the intensities of different sources of light.
1869 First simple transfer carbon prints.
Founding of the Photographic Society of Dresden (Photographische Gesellschaft zu Dresden) and publication of the journal "Helios“.
"Hermann Krone’s Photographic Art Publishing House" (Hermann Krone’s Photographischer Kunstverlag) begins its activities.
1870 Krone begins teaching at the Royal Polytechnic (Königliches Polytechnikum) in Dresden.
Introduction of the collotype following Joseph Albert's method.
1872 Production of the "Königs-Album“ with views of the 142 cities in the Kingdom of Saxony.
1874/75 Participation in the expedition for the observation of the passage of Venus in front of the sun. Establishment of a research station on the Auckland Islands south of New Zealand. Photographs of the astronomical event on December 9, 1874.
Return journey via Australia and India.
1876 Qualification as a university teacher with the topic "On the use of light for illustration in the service of science".
Appointment as the chairman of the Photographic Experts Association for the Kingdom of Saxony (Photographischer Sachverständigenverein für das Königreich Sachsen).
1880's/90's A great number of landscape photographs. Krone experiments and photographs with artificial lighting. Experiments in colour photography. Publication of works on philosophy and natural sciences. Preparation of a bill on photographic copyright.

Hermann Krone with photographic travelling equipment, around 1860, Carte-de Visite
(Museum Ludwig/ Agfa Photo-Historama)

Historical Didactic Museum, panel 79, Indoor photgraphs (rectorship, assembly hall of the Dresden Technical College) 1890
1895 Award of the title of Professor at the Technical College (Technische Hochschule) in Dresden.
1897 Death of Krone's wife. Krone begins the compilation of his poetry, published in four volumes between 1899 and 1902.
1898 Krone is finally given a salary for his teaching, until then unpaid.
1907 The 80 year old Krone retires. Appointment to the Royal Court Council (Königlicher Hofrat) for his services in the area of photography. Donation of his Historical Didactic Museum of Photography (Historisches Lehrmuseum für Photographie) to the Technical College (Technische Hochschule) in Dresden.
1913 Awarded an honorary doctorate at the Technical College (Technische Hochschule) in Dresden.
Krone delivers his manuscript "The Standard Photographic Methods Retaining their Practical Value Forever " (Die für alle Zeit von praktischem Wert bleibenden Photographischen Urmethoden) to the Scientific - Photographic Institute (Wissenschaftlich - Photographisches Institut).
17.09.1916 Death of Hermann Krone in Laubegast near Dresden.

Unknown photographer, Hermann Krone next to his "Historical Didactic Museum of Photography"
on the International Photographic Exhibition, Dresden 1909
(Museum Ludwig/ Agfa Photo-Historama)