A seemingly unrecorded portrait of a Croatian philanthropist, industrialist and nobleman Šandor Alexander Sesvetski (1866-1929) from a prominent Zagreb Jewish family.
Šandor Alexander was one of the most influential Croatians of his time. He was a specialist in banking and economy, a member of over 60 political and trade organisations and from 1909 an adviser to Franz Joseph I of Austria. After WWI, he founded a charity for children “Prehrana” (Food), which distributed food to poor and orphaned children across the country. In 1918, Šandor Alexander was knighted by Emperor Charles I. Alexander‘s only daughter Zora was killed in Mosinger & Breyer Auschwitz during WWII.
Mosinger & Breyer Studio in Zagreb
The photograph was made by a prominent Zagreb studio Mosinger & Breyer in their new office in Ilica 8 on the corner of Zagreb’s main square, which only opened in 1894 as their first shop in Zagreb. They were known for their progressive techniques and good quality of photographs, which made them famous from Dalmatia to Vienna.
Benedikt Rudolf Mosinger (1865-1918) was born in Varaždin to an affluent Jewish family and was schooled in Vienna. His first photo-studios were in his home city and in a Slovenian spa resort Rogaška slatina.
In 1894, joined by Lavoslav Breyer, Mosinger opened a studio in Zagreb, which was active until 1898. In this short period they photographed various Croatian and foreign prominent people and were responsible for commemorating the several Zagreb monuments and events.
Lavoslav Breyer (1865-1928) was a Croatian photographer, who was schooled as technician and electrician in Germany and Vienna. In 1892, he opened his studio in Ilica, Zagreb, where Mosinger joined him two years later. After they closed the studio four years later, Breyer continued working alone until 1904, when he decided to live a bohemian life as a painter in Paris and Spain.
Mosinger & Breyer introduced to Zagreb several modern techniques of photo-reproduction and formats (a so called Mosinger format). On October 8th 1896 they showcased the first moving picture in the city.
References: Breyer, Lavoslav, Židovski biografski leksikon https://zbl.lzmk.hr/?p=2928 ); Mosinger, Benedikt Rudolf, Židovski biografski leksikon (https://zbl.lzmk.hr/?p=1369).
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