Erich Stenger

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Erich Stenger, 1927, photo: Otto Croy, Archive Museum Ludwig, Cologne

Erich Stenger (born August 5, 1878 in Aschaffenburg , † September 14, 1957 in Sanremo ) was a German photo chemist , collector and active as a historian and theorist of photography.


Stenger studied chemistry in Munich from 1897 to 1899, then up to his doctorate with his dissertation on a new synthesis of asymmetrically substituted pyrroles [...] 1903 in Kiel. During his studies he became a member of the AGV Munich . From 1904 he worked for three semesters as a technical assistant to Heinrich Precht (1852-1925) at the Technical University of Hanover , from 1905 to 1906 he was assistant to Adolf Miethe at the Technical University of Charlottenburg and habilitated there in 1919 with a thesis on applied photochemistry. From 1919 to 1922 he was a private lecturer. He was the inventor of the darkroom lamp with liquid filters (1905) and the photographic copying process by chemical gradation (1922). From 1922 he was a non-scheduled associate professor and head of the Institute for Applied Photochemistry at the Technical University of Berlin . From 1928 in Berlin he continued to work as a library councilor and head of the document and portrait collection at the Prussian State Library .

Stenger collected from childhood; first Liebig pictures and postage stamps and from 1906 until the end of his life photographs and testimonies from the cultural history of photography. His photo collection was later considered the largest private photo collection in the world and became the basis of numerous publications and exhibitions, including the book Erich Stenger: Die Photography in Kultur und Technik. Its history for a hundred years (Leipzig 1938, new printing Stuttgart 1992) .

In 1955, Stenger sold his photo collection to Agfa as the company was eager to open a museum of photography. Today the Stengers photo collection is part of the photography collection at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. In 2014 the Museum Ludwig dedicated the exhibition The Museum of Photography to her. One revision (June 28 - November 16, 2014). Most of the collection can be viewed online in the database of the Museum Ludwig.

Stenger also dealt with Aschaffenburg's local history and owned the largest contemporary collection of products from the stoneware factory in Damm ; the collection fell victim to the Second World War. He was also a well-known philatelist .


As a co-founder of the German Society for Photography , he was made its first honorary member.

From 1978 to 2010 the German Society for Photography awarded the Erich Stenger Prize named after him , after which it was renamed the DGPh Research Prize for the History of Photography .

Publications (selection)

  • About a new synthesis of asymmetrically substituted pyrroles; 2. Acetone oxamic acid. University of Kiel, dissertation of May 23, 1903, OCLC 792739621 .
  • Daguerre's Diorama in Berlin , Berlin 1925.
  • Phelloplastik, the small art of cork making . Charlottenburg 1927.
  • Photography in culture and technology. Your story for a hundred years. Leipzig 1938 (reprint Stuttgart 1992).
    • Later under the title: Triumphant advance of photography in culture, science, technology . Heering 1950.
  • 100 years of photography and Agfa 1839–1939 , Munich 1939.
  • Photography in Munich 1839–1860. Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft Roth, Berlin 1939 (Kissing reprinted 1978).
  • The beginning of photography in the mirror of daily newspapers and diaries. A contribution to the 100th anniversary of photography 1839–1939. Triltsch, Würzburg 1940.
  • The history of the 35mm camera to the Leica. Umschau-Verlag, Frankfurt 1949.
  • The stoneware factory Damm near Aschaffenburg 1827–1884. Pattloch, Aschaffenburg 1949.


  • German Biographical Archive II 1262, 304-311, s. WBIS
  • Miriam Halwani (Ed.): We don't take photographs ... Memories of the collector Erich Stenger (1878–1957). On the occasion of the exhibition "The Museum of Photography: A Revision" in the Museum Ludwig Cologne (June 28 - October 5, 2014) . Kehrer, Heidelberg / Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86828-578-9 .
  • Wolfgang Maaßen (Ed.): Erich Stenger: Memoirs of a collector. Biographical Studies. Phil Creativ, Schwalmtal 2006, ISBN 3-932198-70-0 .
  • Wolfgang Maaßen (Ed.): Who is who in philately? A lexicon of well-known philatelists of the 19th and 20th centuries Century. Phil Creativ, Schwalmtal 1999, ISBN 3-932198-32-8 , p. 203.
  • Bodo von Dewitz: 'There is still a lot of work to do!' Erich Stenger and his collection on the cultural history of photography. In: Kölner Museums-Bulletin, 1/97, pp. 14-25.
  • Horst Hille: Philately pioneers. Phil Creativ, Schwalmtal 1995, ISBN 3-928277-17-0 , pp. 102-106.
  • Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar 1950 , 7th edition 1950.
  • Degeners who is it? 10th edition, 1935.
  • Poggendorff's biographical-literary concise dictionary , 1925–1926, vol. V; 1936-1939 Vol. VI: 1923-1931.
  • Robert Volz: Reich manual of the German society . The handbook of personalities in words and pictures. Volume 2: L-Z. German business publisher, Berlin 1931, DNB 453960294 .
  • Albert Herrmann: Graves of famous people who have become known in public life in the Wiesbaden cemeteries . 1928.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Association of Alter SVer (VASV): Address book. Membership directory of all old men. As of October 1, 1937. Hanover 1937, p. 185.
  2. Patent DE382975 : Method for creating images. Registered on July 14, 1922 , published October 9, 1923 , applicant: Erich Stenger, Fred Herz.
  3. ^ Beaumont Newhall: The late Erich Stenger. Retrieved February 6, 2019 .
  4. Miriam Halwani: History of Photo History . Berlin 2012.
  5. ^ The Museum of Photography. A revision . Museum Ludwig. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  6. a b Wolfgang Maassen (Ed.): Who is who in philately? A lexicon of well-known philatelists of the 19th and 20th centuries Century. Phil Creativ, Schwalmtal 1999, ISBN 3-932198-32-8 , p. 203.
  7. ^ DGPh - Research Prize for the History of Photography .