Long lost photo of Richard Wagner found. Really!

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 19 January 2013 | 9:57:00 pm



The Bayreuther Wagner-Museum has announced that a photo of Wagner - once thought long lost - has finally been found and bought by themselves for 900 euros.

In the early hours of Friday, Dr. Sven Friedrich, director of the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth, purchased, from an online auction, a previously almost unknown photograph of Richard Wagner for the National Archive of the Richard Wagner Foundation.

The photo is from a private owner in the U.S. and shows Wagner sitting as a full figure. "That in itself is a rarity " says museum director Friedrich, "because all the other studio photographs Wagner are either half-figures, busts or portraits. Moreover, it is one of the earliest photographic images of Wagner found. It was probably taken in 1861​​ by Louis Buchheister in Paris".

Taken as part of the "promotional material" (there is nothing new in marketing) for the Paris Tannhauser,  it is the only photograph of Wagner to show him without his usual facial hair.

The tip-off that the photograph would be auctioned came from the Munich collector Gunther Braam, who is planning a book on Wagner in photography.