31. March 2019 - 26. May 2019
Now in colour!
Hans Hildenbrand and the first colour photographs of Ulm

Partie an der Blau. Frühes Farbfoto von Hans Hildenbrand, um 1908
Partie an der Blau, um 1908
Foto: Hans Hildenbrand
The question of the first colour — not colourised! — postcards of Ulm were created after the turn of the century opens up a forgotten chapter of the history of photography in our country. The search for an answer led to the discovery of a world-renowned court photographer from Stuttgart, Hans Hildenbrand (1870 – 1957).
Blick vom Neu-Ulmer Donauufer auf Ulm. Farbfoto von Hans Hildenbrand, um 1908
Blick vom Neu-Ulmer Donauufer auf Ulm, um 1908
Foto: Hans Hildenbrand

He was one of the first photographers to work with the Lumière Autochrome process, which had been developed by the Lumière brothers in 1905 and which became available in 1907. Their factory near Lyon produced both the first cameras and the so-called Lumière plates, which enabled professionals and aficionados to create colour slides, long before Kodak and Agfa colour film was available. Multi-colour printing later allowed for the mass-reproduction of colour photographs. In Germany, the reverse side of the postcards bore the inscription ‘Farbenphoto nach Lumière’ (UK: ‘Autochrome’ (colour photo) postcard). However, Hildenbrand had further business ideas, some of which are presented in the exhibition.

Farbfoto des Ulmer Münsters, Hans Hildenbrand um 1908
Das Ulmer Münster
Foto: Hans Hildenbrand

When Hildenbrand died in 1957, he left behind a vast archive of images. His photo-tours had taken him to the Balkans and as far as Palestine. He was particularly fond of alpine motives and colourful traditional costumes. During the First World War, Hans Hildenbrand was able to travel to the Western front-lines to capture colour photographs - due to the long exposure time, the photographs appeared rather contemplative. 

Thanks to a group of photo-aficionados centring on Dr. Rolf Krauss, a photo historian in Stuttgart, the work of Hildenbrand has been rediscovered in the past ten years, leading to an extraordinary illustrated book, published by Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg (House of History Baden-Württemberg) in the summer of 2018.

The work of a pioneer of colour photography is now being brought back to life at the Stadthaus, the work of a photographer who left his studio to capture the world in colour for the first time. The motto of photography from 1907 onwards was: “Now in colour … !”

Opening: Sunday, 31 March 2019, 11.30 a.m.
Project management
: Günter Merkle and Claudia Merkle (assistant)

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von