Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby feuerzauber » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:23 pm

Peter Bassett [http://peterbassett.com.au] has written a devastating critique of Albert Kaplan's attribution of the daguerreotype's sitter to a young Richard Wagner at age 30.

His article may be found on the website of the Richard Wagner Society of [Melbourne] Victoria [Australia]:
http://wagnermelb.org.au/xoops/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=76.

It is now up to those who insist on attributing the sitter as being Richard Wagner to explain how an 1840s daguerreotype managed to get an 1850s label stuck on its back.

[Not insuperable, but decidedly uncomfortable.]
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby feuerzauber » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:39 pm

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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby alberich00 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:39 am

Mr. Bassett's argument seems air-tight. Too bad: it would have been wonderfully serendipitous for an earliest known photo of RW to have mysteriously reappeared after all these years. But I imagine there are still treasures waiting to be found. What for instance (forgive my ignorance if new info on the following has already come to hand) became of all the original Wagner scores in Hitler's hands which Wolfgang tried but failed to retrieve from Hitler's Berlin bunker? Did some Soviet general whisk them off to his dacha? Were they burned? Are they sitting unremarked in some damp warehouse?
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby albertkaplan » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:59 am

Remarkable developments have occurred in the past few days. I have reported it all, but the emails cannot go out until I return to an area serviced by Cox Communications with whom my email is connected. I am to return to Nevada on January 3d at which time the outgoing emails will actually go out.

Peter Bassett from Australia saw something that everybody familiar with the matter missed. The label lists ""Panotype"" and ""Stereoscopic"" which were 1850s technology. Peter marvelously recognized that. Enter again Grant Romer who has the daguerreotype at his home. When I spoke with him yesterday I think it was, he knew the precise dates of the collodian process, the stereoscopic development, etc.

From this point the readers no longer need me to relay what others have said or written. The reader should get it from the horse's mouth. It will be best to read what Peter writes, and what Grant writes.

I will only mention that within the next few days Grant will reexamine the daguerreotype, get down to the bedrock, and look for physical evidence that it is a copy. However, even if he does not find such physical evidence, he believes that the daguerreotype, that is, the plate, is a copy. A veil is lifted. Rudolph Turnau was not the daguerreian. He was the duplicator. He made the copy daguerreotype.

It goes on. I will not write more here and now. The reader will learn about this development from the very people themselves. Keep tuned!
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby albertkaplan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:56 am

The latest information is that on Saturday, January 5th at the Museum Photographics lab in Rochester, Grant Romer will reopen the daguerreotype, and get down to the bedrock, looking for copy daguerreotype evidence. He thinks it is. His intervention and any disassembly will be photographed. All my Wagner correspondants have his email to me.

This is a whole new ballgame.

There may be a dozen or more copy daguerreotpes of this image. I think that in 1855 Richard Wagner was well known; thus there would be an interest in his daguerreotype image.

It is likely the original was made in Hamburg, and that it remained in Hamburg. The question arises, who had posession of the daguerreotype, and what were the circumstances? Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Did Wanger have a woman friend in Hamburg?
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby feuerzauber » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:10 pm

Albert Kaplan has updated his Richard Wagner page
http://www.kaplancollection.com/the-cased-collection/richard-wagner/
to include photographs of Grant Romer's re-examination of the daguerreotype that was undertaken on Saturday [5 January] in light of the critique of its attribution of its sitter to Richard Wagner made by Peter Bassett.

The circumstantial evidence, but no hard or conclusive evidence, for this daguerreotype being a copy is presented there. Apparently, the experts on daguerreotypography Grant Romer and Michael Hager professionally agree that this is a copy, and Albert Kaplan remains optimistically confident that the subject is Richard Wagner.
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby feuerzauber » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:21 pm

Peter Bassett [http://www.peterbassett.com.au/] has posted a response to Grant Romer's re-examination of Albert Kaplan's daguerreotype on Saturday 5 January.

Peter's response "An answer to further claims about the Kaplan daguerreotype" is avaiable on the website of the Richard Wagner Society of Victoria [Melbourne Australia] at http://wagnermelb.org.au/xoops/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=77.

Peter raises the disconcerting issue of the absence of corrected "lateral inversion", which would be expected of a copy of a laterally inverted original, noting that Richard parted his hair on the left and not on the right.
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby albertkaplan » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:52 pm

Around 1980 the computer was applied to facial recognition. It was very primitive at first. It has been uphill since. 9-11 made it essential that every means be used to be able to identify the bad guys on sight. The FBI now has a biometric facial identification group. In the private sector is a major French company who acquired the leading U. S. provider of this technology. One of the leaders of this field is Bob Schmitt. Bob is now making a video of the daguerreotype that I declare is young Richard Wagner. I am sure he will introduce himself, say a little about his background, and speak a little about the technology. As soon as I receive his video it will go up on the Wagner section of the website, www.kaplancollection.com. I expect it might be up in a week.
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby albertkaplan » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:17 am

These days with our extraordinary computer-driven cameras, one can ""flip""an image at the push of a button. Daguerreians could also flip images. The Turnau daguerreotype was probably made in 1857, late for a daguerreotype; it would have been a routine matter. Therefore, whether the Turnau daguerreotype is laterally inverted or not is irrelevant. It is laterally inverted, as was the original. Turnau flipped it, making it appear like the original. Remember, it is a copy daguerreotype!
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Re: Can this 1844 daguerreotype be Richard Wagner?

Postby albertkaplan » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:28 am

Today, January 18th, I had the pleasure of seeing Bob Schmitt. He came to Las Vegas for a very short visit, and will return to Washington, DC tomorrow. He told llme that he will complete the audio portion of the video over the weekend. The video portion is complete. Thus, it is likely that the completed video will be up on the kaplancollection.com site in the early part of next week. I think that the video will complete the input to the Richard Wagner section of the website. Although it is possible that additional information about the image may come about, it is unlikely.

I wish the viewers to know that I am absolutely convinced, indeed certain, that the young man of the image is Richard Wagner. The original daguerreotype was likely made in Hamburg in March or April, 1844 by an unknown daguerreian. The Rudolph Turnau studio made the copy daguerreotype. More copy daguerreotypes may exist. The original daguerreotype may exist. If the image is publicized in Germany it is quite possible that other copy daguerreotypes might come to the surface.
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