The Bucharest Municipality Museum and Grand Hotel Continental invite you on a journey to discover Bucharest at the end of the 19th century, as seen by the cameras of Franz Duschek and Franz Mandy, two of the city’s first photographers. The Photo-Cabinet exhibition is hosted by the renowned hotel and is part of a larger project called “The Avant-guard of Bucharest’s Photographers”.
The project wishes to highlight BMM’s rich patrimony of photographs by opening it to the public in an exhibition that focuses on the life and work of 10 photographers in Bucharest: Carol Popp of Szathmari, Ludwig Angerer, Moritz Benedict Baer, Franz Duschek, Andreas D. Reiser, Franz Mandy, Eduard Pesky, Spirescu, Franz Duschek-son, Gustav Waber. The book recently published by BMM Publishing House and authored by Ana Iacob (museologist), represents an ample study that opens news questions and subtle challenges for researches in the humanities fields. A series of great historical figures such as Ion C. Brătianu, King Carol I or Queen Elisabeth, together with many other characters that became anonymous in time, appear before the reader with their attires and decorations, goatees and hats, swords, cans, books or porcelain cups, reconstructing a fragment of how life was back in their time.
The building of Grand Hotel Continental, which is hosting this event, represents one of those locations where the capital’s elite have been present throughout time. Great figures such as George Enescu, Liviu Rebreanu, Ion Barbu, Mihail Sadoveanu or Constantin Tănase were regular visitors of this place. Opened in 1886, on the place where Hotel Broft used to be – an established hotel of the capital dating back to the Independence War – , Grand Hotel Continental is situated on 56 Victoriei Street. Although affected by the earthquake in 1940, the American air raid in 1944, closed and turned into an office building during the communist regimme on grounds of being a symbol of capitalist society, the hotel survives all the vicissitudes of the 20th century. The restaurant is re-opened in 1954 and the hotel in 1979.
The building, renovated in 2005-2009, is currently included on the list of historical monuments. Its 53 rooms, refurbished and decorated with furniture pieces carefully picked from various auction houses in Europe, offers the unique experience of being transported into the 19th century, an experience signaled upon entrance by its chandelier lit-up hall.
“The Avant-guard of Bucharest’s Photographers” represents a living and multidimensional experience that highlights and brings back into the present the spirit of 19th century Bucharest, an experience where you are all invited as guests.