|Dates: ||1831, 25 September - 1917, 27 April|
|Born: ||US, PA, Philadelphia|
|Died: ||US, PA, Philadelphia|
American studio photographer mostly active in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Born in 1831 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia to German immigrant parents, Frederick Gutekunst held a legal apprenticeship, studied pharmacy, and worked in a drug store before launching his career in photography. In 1856 he opened his first studio, Gutekunst & Brother, at 706 Arch Street in Philadelphia with his younger sibling Louis. Within a decade, the studio, under his sole proprietorship and employing thirty-five people, moved to larger quarters at 712-714 Arch Street. Gutekunst retained this Arch Street studio throughout his career, even while opening up branch studios in other locations around the city.
During his over sixty year career, Gutekunst produced photographic work utilizing many different processes. From his early work creating daguerreotypes  and ambrotypes, he successfully transitioned into paper photography and later branched out into producing photomechanical reproductions known as phototypes. Gutekunst specialized in portraits and thousands of well-known figures, including Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Longfellow, and Woodrow Wilson, as well as the not well-known visited his studio. His business, however, was not confined just to portraiture. During the 1870s he served as the Pennsylvania Railroad’s official photographer taking images of tracks, railroad stations, and scenery along the line’s routes. In 1876 his studio received accolades for its production of what was then considered the world’s largest print, a ten foot long and eighteen inch high panoramic image of Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition fairgrounds made from seven negatives. Frederick Gutekunst continued to work as a photographer until two months before his death in Philadelphia in 1917.
1. Gutekunst daguerreotypes are uncommon, but one is in the collection of William B. Becker.
[Sarah J. Weatherwax, Curator of Prints and Photographs, The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107]
(pers. email, Sarah Weatherwax to Alan Griffiths, 30 October 2015)
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