The turn of the 20th century seemed full of promise for Germany. The suburbs may
have teemed with tenements to house the new industrial proletariat, but on spacious
new avenues in the city centres, people strolled proudly past magnificent bourgeois
residences. The economy was booming, the aristocracy and the military enjoyed unlimited
social prestige, and most of the population revered the Kaiser.
Through some 800 color pictures, this book presents turn-of-the-century Germany as
it liked to see herself: self-confident, glittering, patriotic but also with a belief
in progress and – for those who could afford it – a cosmopolitan flair. As in the
critically acclaimed An American Odyssey, the images are all rare examples of the
historical photochrom process, a printing technique that allowed black-and-white
photographs to be reproduced in colour.
From Ludwig II’s fairy-tale castles in the Bavarian Alps to glamourous bathing resorts
on the North Sea and Baltic, the pictures reveal a Germany of optimism, beauty, and
transformation. Technical innovations and modern boulevards sit alongside medieval
towns, rural traditions, and mystical forests, creating a fascinating and nostalgic
panorama of a long lost epoch before the ravages of time and history set in.
Graphic designer, photographer and collector Marc Walter specializes in vintage travel
photographs, particularly photochroms, of which he has one of the world’s largest
collections. He has published numerous books featuring images from his collection
as well as his own photographs.
Sabine Arqué is a documentarian, photo researcher and author. She has collaborated
on numerous publications on the themes of travel, the history of tourism and photography.
Art historian Karin Lelonek works as a curator and author for a number of museums
and cultural institutions. She specializes in 20th century photography and architecture.