Bariloche. Argentine Patagonia. circa 1950.

Collection of six landscape photographs. Bariloche. Rio Negro Province. Author: Godfrey Kaltschmidt. Circa 1950. Silver gelatin prints. Double weight paper. Works in black and white. With its white margins. Measurements, around: 16.2 x 22.7 cm. Mounted on white passe partout. All images referenced by hand on the lower edge of the secondary support and with black graphite pencil; on the left with the title and on the right the holographic signature of the author.


Since its origins in the mid-19th century, Argentine photography has been developed by mostly European professionals; Among these immigrants, German, Austrian or Swiss photographers transcend, all united by a common language.


The Patagonian collection that we present today was made in the mid-20th century by one of the most prominent photographers from southern Germany, we are referring to Godofredo Kaltschmidt. Regarding this camera professional, we must point out that his performance in the country was marked by two chapters that were well differentiated geographically from each other. The first was investigated by the historian Roberto Conde through the work "The party of San Martín in Photography", a paper presented at the "1st Congress on the History of Photography" (1992). There he points out that "in Villa Ballester, since 1929, Godofredo Kaltschmidt's house was located at Calle Independencia at 10, moving to Alvear 45 in 1932. It remained in that place until 1937, when he decided to move to Bariloche where he continued a very important task."


In those years Villa Ballester had a large German community to which Godofredo Kaltschmidt obviously belonged and, consequently, his teams were at the service of these cultural and educational institutions, without neglecting the records of baptisms, communions, weddings or social events, such such as carnivals, birthdays and family parties. Works by this author were opportunely donated by Conde to the National University of San Martín.


Following the track started by Roberto Conde, we see that, towards the end of the 1930s, Kaltschmidt landed in the then small town of San Carlos de Bariloche -also with a large German community- and, it will be in this wonderful region of natural forests, mountains and Andean lakes, where the best photographic works of this camera artist emerge with incredible creative power.


We have been investigating his production for years and, consequently, we can affirm that his landscape compositions -in an incredible palette of whites, blacks and grays- place him comfortably at the top of the best photographic artists of Bariloche and the Region of Los lakes.


In this promising village, Kaltschmidt established a well-known photography house -he had Heriberto Cohrs as an employee- and turned intensely to the business of tourist photography, which was in growing demand. He also collaborated through his images with the local weekly "La Voz Andina".


Unlike his enormous production of single postcards and small albums by photomechanical printing, the edition of his vintage works in black and white is very scarce, as they are now presented, in a good format and accompanied by the author's signature.


Details of the works offered:

1) "Llao Llao and Cerro López"; 2) "Cerro López and Lago Moreno"; 3) "Gutierrez Lake"; 4) "Lago Moreno and C(err)o Capilla"; 5) "Sun and Snow", and 6) "Traful Lake".



By Abel Alexander

President of the Ibero-American Society for the History of Photography


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