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Hermann Kummler (compiler)
[Studio portrait of a Brazilian woman]
[Ethnographic portraits of indigenous women of Pernambuco and Bahia]
Salt paper print, hand-painted
Swann Galleries - New York
Sale 2466, Icons & Images: Photographs & Photobooks, 15 February 2018, Lot: 15
From the Collection of Hermann Kummler; acquired directly from the family. Kummler was a Swiss photographer who accompanied Als Kaufmann to Brazil, where they traveled extensively from 1888-91. Kummler apparently purchased vintage prints by local photographers (which he stamped and annotated), and eventually set up his own commercial studio in the town of Aarau. During the three year period he was in Brazil with Kaufmann, Kummler apparently made more than 130 photographs. Their journey was the subject of a monograph entitled Als Kaufmann in Pernambuco, Ein Reisebericht mit Bildern aus Brasiilien von Hermann Kummler, copiously illustrated with his images.
Tradeswomen are depicted with a teapot on a table, a comb, a basket laden with bottles or wares carefully balanced on their heads; maids hold embroidered cloth and a wet nurse is shown with an infant. A native lady-in-waiting (and a young child) attend to a gorgeously dressed aristocrat, who wears a long veil. The hand-colored prints reinforce the sense of individual style associated with these remarkable figures; two of the indigenous women (one of whom wears a cross), simply pose in the studio sans tradewomen's objects.