Portrait of Zenon Sare on a velocipede


Title: Portrait of Zenon Sare on a velocipede
Author: Mien & Sebald Photo Lab
Year taken: 1890
Kept at: Walery Rzewuski Museum of History of Photography in Krakow

The photograph has the shape of a standing rectangle and is glued onto a rectangular and slightly larger, cream-coloured cardboard matte. The size difference between the photo and the matte results in margins, which are almost identical on the sides and at the upper edge. The lower margin is much wider. The corners of the cardboard matte are slightly rounded.
The photograph, done in the cabinet-card format, sized approximately 16 x 11 cm, was taken inside a photographic studio.

In the centre of the composition is a seven-year-old boy sitting on a velocipede – a type of bicycle used in late nineteenth century, which had a very large wheel in the front and a small one in the back. The velocipede is shown from the side, its front to the right. The boy is turned three quarters to the right, his hands on the handlebar, feet on the pedals and the head slightly turned. He is sporting a serious face, seeming to be engrossed in posing for the photograph. His face is focused, the eyes open, his nose long and the mouth narrow. His right ear is clearly outlined, dark hair with a fringe popping out from under the dark-coloured flat cap. The boy is wearing a loose white shirt with a striped sailor’s collar and white shorts. On his feet are soft laced shoes.

The model’s background is a photographic screen featuring a fragment of a forest or park. To the left, a thick clump of tree trunks is visible, with as many as three trunks branching out. On the right is a fragment of a much smaller tree trunk. In the back, fragments of trunks of coniferous trees are shown. On the floor, generously spread white fabric is arranged in irregular folds.

The margin under the image is filled with a lithographed, gilded inscription: J. Mien & J. Sebald Kraków. In the middle of the margin, hand-written in ink are words: Zenon Sare, and below it the year 1890.

The reverse is cream-coloured. Diagonally across the centre of the cardboard matte, an inscription done in a decorative golden font reads: J. Mien & J. Sebald, below: Sławkowska 31, at the bottom: KRAKOW. Close to the lower edge there is the lithographer’s emblem: KÜHLE & MIKSCHE, WIEN.

Zenon Sare (1883 – 1961) was the son of Józef (1850- 1929), an architect and Deputy Mayor of Krakow. He was a mechanical engineer by profession. Before the First World War he worked in a Škoda factory in Bohemia, between 1914 and 1919 he was the chief site engineer at the Zieleniewski Machines and Train Carriages Factory, later employed at an engineering firm located at 3 Tarłowska St. in Krakow.

The photographic lab of Juliusz Mien and Józef Sebald was established in 1890. It initially operated at 31 Sławkowska St and in March 1894 was moved to 13 Podwale St. From 1905, the business was located at 8 Kopernika St. Juliusz Mien (1842 – 1905) was a photographer, writer and translator, one of the founders of the Artistic and Literary Club in Krakow. His pieces were published in the Polish publications Time, Krakow Courier, New Reform and Polish Gazette. Józef Sebald (1853 – 1931) was president of the Industrial Photographers’ Society founded in 1909.