The Franz Hanfstaengl Publishing Company
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Franz Hanfstaengl was a well-known German portraitist and lithographer
For economic reasons he was sent to Munich at the age of 12. He was lucky to meet Herman Joseph Mitterer, the director of a Sunday drawing school and owner of the first lithography printing company of Bavaria. Mitterer soon recognized the talent of his protégé and stimulated his intellectual abilities with human warmth. Franz Hanftstaengl was not only gifted and industrious but also showed considerable commercial talent.
In 1833, he founded the “Lithography Studio Franz Hanfstaengl” and began to extend his activities across Europe. Over the years he expanded into the field of fine art printing and also opened a studio of photography in 1852.
Among other popular personalities whom Franz Hanfstaengl photographed were Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Gottfried Semper. In a letter to King Ludwig II, Richard Wagner, one of the most photographed personalities of his time, praised the photographs of Franz Hanfstaengl as the work of a great artist.
From 1885 Franz Hanfstaengl focused on copper printing, especially in the production of photoengraving , also known as photogravure. He was significantly involved in leading the evolution and development of photogravure. This technique made it possible for the first time, with the aid of the etching technique, to reproduce masterpieces of art. Hanfstaengl utilized photogravure not only for his portrait photographs, but he also photographed famous pictures in international museums from which to make prints. His descendants later founded branches of the firm in London and New York.