On January 7, 1839, Daguerre’s invention, which bears his name, was presented to the public at the Paris Academy of Sciences, marking the birth of photography worldwide. A few months later, the local German-language press in Timişoara already reported the presence of such daguerreotypers on the territory of the city, thus marking the beginning of a long and intense photographic activity in Banat.
The collection of photographs and glass clichés of the Banat Museum in Timişoara is one of the most complex collections kept by museum institutions in the country, with a coverage that spans three centuries and includes several types and procedures, starting with the one mentioned. The earliest preserved photographic images date back to 1840, among them a beautiful daguerreotype with color intervention (dated 1847), representing a portrait and also one of the oldest known photographic images in our country.
Starting with the second half of the century. In the 19th century, images produced in negatives on glass plates and positively printed on albuminous paper, discovered after 1850, were used. The Banat Museum has a rich collection of such photographs, representing various scenes and historical events, urban aspects or landscapes both the Banat area and the other Romanian territories, as well as a number of aspects from the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
Among the authors of these photographs are some names of European and national importance for the history of photography in the twentieth century. 19th century: Klosz György, Lazar Letzter, Kossák József, Brand József, Fridolin Hess, Naschitz László and others.
for researching the urban and architectural development of the city, images dating from the last quarter of the century. nineteenth century and extending to the years of communism. Many of these photos are unique sources of documentation for several monuments in Timisoara.
A unique series is that of glass clichés, numbering over 2,000 frames, which capture early aspects unique in Timisoara, such as the interiors of the first museum established in Banat (1872) and among the first in the country (made in the last quarter of the century). XIX), the interiors of the Roman Catholic Episcopate, various monuments and buildings disappeared or some moved, which are true documents for researchers of this aspect. The shots were taken by Brand József and József Kossák, the latter also holding the title of Imperial and Royal Photographer, awarded by Emperor Franz Josef himself. A number of these clichés also date from the interwar period, being important from an ethnographic point of view.
Among the photographic documents are family albums or photographs of Banat and national personalities or whose names are associated: Ormós Zsigmond, Aurel Vlaicu, Traian Vuia, Coriolan Brediceanu, Virgil Birou, Avram Iancu, Ioachim Miloia, August von Mackensen, Dionisie Linţia, Nicolae Iorga et al.
A series of documentary photographic images depict aspects of the two World Wars through unique frames, which complete the universal image of these events from an iconographic point of view.
The collection continues to the present day, covering the communist, post-revolutionary period, to the digital images of today and is a unitary collection that completes the historical-artistic information about the development of photography and to reconstruct as accurate information about our history.