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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frederick Gutekunst

Other: Frederic Gutekunst 
Joint: Gutekunst and Bro. 
Dates:  1831, 25 September - 1917, 27 April
Born:  US, PA, Philadelphia
Died:  US, PA, Philadelphia
Active:  US
American studio photographer mostly active in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Born in 1831 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia to German immigrant parents, Frederick Gutekunst held a legal apprenticeship, studied pharmacy, and worked in a drug store before launching his career in photography. In 1856 he opened his first studio, Gutekunst & Brother, at 706 Arch Street in Philadelphia with his younger sibling Louis. Within a decade, the studio, under his sole proprietorship and employing thirty-five people, moved to larger quarters at 712-714 Arch Street. Gutekunst retained this Arch Street studio throughout his career, even while opening up branch studios in other locations around the city.
During his over sixty year career, Gutekunst produced photographic work utilizing many different processes. From his early work creating daguerreotypes [1] and ambrotypes, he successfully transitioned into paper photography and later branched out into producing photomechanical reproductions known as phototypes. Gutekunst specialized in portraits and thousands of well-known figures, including Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Longfellow, and Woodrow Wilson, as well as the not well-known visited his studio. His business, however, was not confined just to portraiture. During the 1870s he served as the Pennsylvania Railroad’s official photographer taking images of tracks, railroad stations, and scenery along the line’s routes. In 1876 his studio received accolades for its production of what was then considered the world’s largest print, a ten foot long and eighteen inch high panoramic image of Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition fairgrounds made from seven negatives. Frederick Gutekunst continued to work as a photographer until two months before his death in Philadelphia in 1917.
1. Gutekunst daguerreotypes are uncommon, but one is in the collection of William B. Becker.
[Sarah J. Weatherwax, Curator of Prints and Photographs, The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107]
(pers. email, Sarah Weatherwax to Alan Griffiths, 30 October 2015) 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Philadelphia, PA, US 
[5-8] *[Frederic Gutekunst] "Photographer"; "Imperial Galleries"; 712 Arch St. Prolific portraitist, also issued several series: "American Scenery"; "Pennsylvania Railroad"; "Pennsylvania Scenery"; often used blindstamp; produced several hundred generally fine views, almost entirely of PA scy.; few views on glass. Claimed in 76 to have made the world's largest photo., of Centennial Expo. grounds. Purchased US rights to the phototype process 76. Exhibited photos as late as 89. Said to have been apprenticed to lawyer and druggist, graduated College of Pharmacy before entering photog.; opened first gallery 56; B. 31, Germantown, PA, D. 17 Phila. SEE "Philadelphia Photographers 1840-1900" by William & Marie Brey. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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Exhibitions on this website

ThumbnailFrederick Gutekunst: Scenery on the Pennsylvania Rail-Road (ca 1875) 
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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website


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In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Frederick Gutekunst was represented in 45 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
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