Fischer Karl


Karl Andreyevich Fisher is a famous photographer, owner of the largest photo studio in Moscow, one of the founders of the Russian Photographic Society. Karl Fischer began his professional career in 1878 in Orenburg; he owned photographic ateliers in Orenburg and Samara. In 1892, he was appointed the Imperial theaters photographer. This fact facilitate the subsequent heyday of the master's popularity, which lasted two decades.

Karl Fischer managed to take pictures of the performances of the Bolshoi and State Academic Maly Theaters, Moscow Art Theatre, Mamontov's Private Russian Opera in Moscow, Sergey Zimin Opera. In the 1890-1910s, the masters who worked in Fischer's photographic institution achieved significant success in photographing theatrical scenes, which at that time presented certain difficulties due to imperfect photographic equipment.

Fischer collaborated with the Tretyakov Gallery, where in 1898-1913 he enjoyed the pre-emptive right to make photographs. By special agreement with the management, he had a shop-room in the gallery building for selling photographs of exhibits. By 1900, his photo studio completed photo shooting of the exposition of all museum halls.

Karl Fischer was the first in Russia to start publishing collotype editions of catalogs and albums featuring museum expositions and thematic art exhibitions. The album “The 25th Anniversary of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. 1872-1897” (1899), “Catalog of Art Works of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov City Gallery” (1899), “Illustrated Catalog of Moscow Public and Rumyantsev Museums’ Picture Gallery” were among other issues.

After the death of Leo Tolstoy death in 1910, the photographer, on the initiative and with the assistance of the writer's widow, Sofya Andreevna, published several memorable albums of collotypes that contained almost all of the writer's lifetime photographs, portraits of his relatives and friends.

For mass-market customer, Fischer offered a huge number of postcards with the views of Moscow streets, temples, cathedrals and other points of interest. For theatre enthusiast, he printed postcards with the portraits of the Imperial Theaters of artists and scenes from performances.

As a Prussian subject, during the First World War, Fischer fully experienced the hardships of times of change and Germanophobia. In May 1915, Fischer's photographic institution on Kuznetsky Most and Collotype with workshops on Lesnaya Street in the photographer private house were destroyed all the way down.

It is known, that on February 29, 1916, Karl Fischer organized an auction sale of 200,000 open letters (postcards), cameras and art products at the house of the 1st Russian Insurance Company. One photo costed about one ruble.

The last mention of Fischer dates back to 1923, when he gave the sculpture to A.S. Golubkina the photographs of A.N. Ostrovsky for the project of the monument to the great playwright. The further fate of Karl Fischer further fate is unknown.

The legacy of the prominent photographer is the encyclopedia of the artistic, theatrical and literary life of Russia.