Dora Kallmus, the pioneering photographer who continues to fascinate the world

Meeting Benches is a place of connection, discovery and inspiration, an invitation to slow down, look around and see the art and beauty; people sit on its benches and share art, stories and thoughts. In this place of connection and meeting between artists and art lovers, you can meet artists, thinkers and dreamers from different cultures and backgrounds. You will discover that poetry is also art, because it allows everyone to express their personality through the images they choose to capture. If you want to know already published photographic stories, you can type The intellectual properties of the images that appear on this blog correspond to their authors. The sole purpose of this site is to spread the knowledge of these creatives, allowing others to appreciate the works.

Dora Kallmus, also known as Madame D’Ora, was a very successful and talented Austrian photographer. Born in Vienna on March 20, 1881, she distinguished herself as a portraitist and fashion photographer. Her legacy as a photographer remains significant, having captured with her art the essence of an era and personalities that marked history. We want to bring you some highlights from the life and career of this first woman admitted to theoretical courses at the Höhere Graphische Bundes-Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt graphic institute in 1904, when she became a member of the Austrian photographers’ association.

In 1907 she, together with Arthur Benda, opened the Atelier d’Ora, the Viennese studio that became known for its refinement and illustrious clientele, including Charles I of Austria and members of the Rothschild family. Among her subjects were personalities such as Gustav Klimt, Alma Mahler, Coco Chanel, Josephine Baker, Marc Chagall, Maurice Chevalier, Tamara de Lempicka, Alban Berg, Colette and Pablo Picasso. Following her success, Dora Kallmus opened a second studio in Germany, in Karlovy Vary, and a gallery in Paris, where she moved in 1927.

Dora Kallmus was renowned for her innovative photographic technique and her revolutionary approach to portraiture. In fact, she distanced herself from the nineteenth-century tradition of artificial portraits, preferring more natural poses. This approach helped create a new, more modern and fascinating portrait style. Madame D’Ora was skilled at creating a natural, lively and dynamic scene for her subjects. As a skilled director, she knew how to bring out the beauty and personality of her models through environment and composition. The dynamism of society at the time influenced her work, allowing her to capture the essence of her subjects in a lively and engaging way.

Her ability to capture the essence of an era and personalities that have marked history through photography remains a point of reference in the field of visual art. Dora Kallmus‘ work is preserved in several prestigious collections and museums. Among the places where you can find her works, we recommend the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Leopold Museum in Vienna and the Mahler Foundation, which has information about her, as Dora corresponded with Gustav Mahler.

There are several online resources where you can find a catalog of Dora Kallmus‘ works For example, Artnet offers an overview of her artwork, with auction results and recent news. Additionally, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s website features a biography and list of works by her in their collection. For more specific research, you might consider visiting the websites of museums that house her works or looking for catalogs of past exhibitions that may have been digitized and made available online.

Jewish by birth, Dora Kallmus converted to Catholicism in 1919. During the Nazi period, she was opposed by the authorities and lived in hiding for a year before resuming its activity at the end of the Second World War. The darling of the aristocracy and Viennese society, the charming Dora who was born into a family of Jewish intellectuals, after being hit by a motorbike in Paris returned to Vienna, where she lived out the last years of her life, dying there on 28 October 1963.


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