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Portrait painting from early 1900's

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Photographs2845 of 4472Photo of unidentified CoupleGerman Army in Paris WWII
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Posted 5 years ago

(56 items)

I collect old photo's from the 1800's - early 1900's, which is exactly what I thought this was when I purchased it at a garage sale recently. On closer inspection, it is actually an incredibly detailed, lifelike painting. Both the frame and painting are in poor condition, partly due to age and partly due to the fact that it has been uncared for. The newspaper backing mentions the date 1906, so I assume this painting was done sometime during or prior to that date. It is signed L W K Wirth who was an artist who lived from 1858-1950. I've yet to be able to find out much about this piece at all. Someone has numbered the back of it, so it appears it has been through an auction at some point.

Mystery Solved


  1. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    I think that you were right with the first hunch-- this appears to be a photograph.

    These enlarged photos were very popular in the 1870s- 1920s.

    When the photographs were enlarged, it was typical to add details to the photograph and was often done by artists employed by the photographic studio.

    You will often see these identified as "Charcoal Potraits".

    I would date the original photograph (used for the enlargement) from the 1880s- 90s. The newspaper backing looks original and shows the same discoloration as the back board, so I would date the enlargement to 1906 .

  2. kindy kindy, 5 years ago
    Thanks so much for the information, Scott!! I think the thing that led me astray was researching the artists signature - that is what led me to believe it was a painting. The artist signed on there was actually a very prominent figure back then - is it possible that could add value to it? Of course, it could also be possible it was forged? Such a shame it's in such poor condition. I bought it from an eldery couple who used to own an antique store and it had just been sitting in there garage for some time.
  3. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    I am not familiar with the artist.

    I would think a collector who has paintings by the artist would pay more than a photograph collector for the item.


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