VIENNA WOMAN_0003A pretty woman poses for her portrait in the studio of Dr Szekely in Vienna, Austria. The woman has an unusual hair style. Her hair seems to be straight on top of her head and she has beautiful curls on the side. The reverse of the photograph identifies the subject as Austrian theater actress Josephine Wessely (1860-1887). Wessely was born in Vienna and the daughter of a shoemaker. She began drama school at age fourteen and had her debut in “Intrigue and Love” in 1876 at the Leipzig City Theater. In 1879 she became a member of the Burgtheater ensemble. She was known for playing juvenile tragic roles and gained recognition for playing Gretchen in Goethe’s “Faust”. Wessely died at 27 years of age. The cause of her death is suspected to be leukemia. Printing on the reverse of the card reveals that Dr Szekely won medals for his photography in exhibitions in Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878). To learn more about Dr Szekely and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Szekely”.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Such an early death for someone so promising. At least she began acting at a young age. – That perhaps provided a source of memories and solace at the end. – Such lovely blue eyes.

  2. This is a publicity photo, because the actress is wearing a 17th century-style costume; her hairstyle is in imitation of 17th century European women’s styles. My great-grandmother was also an actress in Vienna during this time, and we have some publicity photos of her wearing stage costume in historic styles, as well.

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