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Architectural Photography 1945-1970

16.11.2004 - 09.01.2005


During the “Month of Photography“—which takes place simultaneously in Vienna, Paris and Belin—the WestLicht Gallery, in cooperation with the Austrian National Library, will be presenting the work of Lucca Chmel (1911–1999) for the first time. Lucca Chmel is regarded as the first female photographer in Austria to have specialised in architecture. She transformed the modernism of the 1950’s and 1960’s into photographs with a high intrinsic aesthetic value. Her eye for significant architectural motifs, her feeling for space and, by no means least, her very special, effective handling of light evoked enthusiasm in architects such as Oswald Haerdtl, Erich Boltenstern or Roland Rainer as well as many more. These were architects who had a decisive influence on the buildings of that time. When the photographer’s creative power met with high quality architecture the result was picture series which were more than simple documentaries, they represent an interpretation of the „forms of an era.“ Above all, Lucca Chmel’s shots of interiors communicate the style of the times in a lively way—the design, everyday aesthetic and the flair of the first two post-1945 decades. The photographer’s clear, objective gaze which she combined with an unmistakeable, almost fairytale-like staging of light was often directed towards expressive architectural details. Lucca Chmel’s photography encourages discovery of Austria’s “second modernism” far from the well-trodden paths of architectural history.

The basis of the presentation, curated by Gabriele Hofer and Uwe Schögl, is Lucca Chmel’s extensive estate which is preserved in the Austrian National Library with its over 100,000 glass negatives and over 5,000 vintage prints.




Forum Kino, Vienna, 1950
Böhler Building, Vienna, 1958. Architect: Roland Rainer
General Hospital Vienna, School building, 1968. Architects: Roland Moebius and General Hospital Architectural team
Austrian National Bank, Linz Branch, 1953. Architects: Erich Boltenstern, Eugen Wachberger

Airport Vienna—Schwechat, 1960. Architects: Fritz Pfeffer, Kurt Klaudy, Adolf Hoch, Anton Schimka