Viennese family with six children
What it is:
Cabinet card measuring approx. 4.25 x 6.5 inches.
What I know about it:
Photographer is Alfons Piksa of Vienna. Otherwise undated and unidentified.
Venturing back into my curiously large assortment of photos from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, here is a family from Vienna. They seem like a contented enough crew, even if the parents look a little exhausted and the children look a little anemic. The clothing is interesting, since not only is it period, it’s regionally ethnic. The father seems to be wearing a medal and holding an unusual pipe. I’m a little puzzled by the pierrot-like outfit on the boy standing in front of his mother (I’m guessing his collar just isn’t resting properly). And while I’m sure it’s just an illusion created by poor exposure, the girl on the left seems to be lacking arms. I’m struck by the setting. The painted plants in the backdrop, the romantic molding used as the boy’s seat to the right, and the wads of dried grass scattered about fall a bit short of the Elysian splendor that I assume was intended. And that backdrop! Can it really be that they used a backdrop that had several feet of damage at the top, exposing whatever was hanging in the studio behind it? One possibility is that this is a photo reproduced from an existing, but damaged, photo, though it still strikes me as a poor job of masking the damage. All I know is that it isn’t (for once) damage to my copy. One other interesting thing is that the photographer’s studio information on the back is printed in both German and (according to Google Translate) Czech.