Arthur Edler von Schwertfuehrer (1891-1967) was a German-Austrian photographer and cinematographer. He was born on February 3, 1891, in Leoven in Styria as a son of a major general. At an early age he developed a great interest in aviation and photography. He pursued a career as an officer in the Army. He held the rank of an lieutenant when he was employed as a pilot of a biplane for reconnaissance missions and military aerial photography during World War I. After the end of the war in 1918 he took leave of the Army. In 1919, after curing a lung disease in Davos and Capri, he followed the Austrian Emperor Carl (Kaiser Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen) into exile in Switzerland in Prangins at Lake Geneva, where he worked as his adjutant and personal clerk. A myriad of photographs of the Imperial Family date back to this period. In 1919 Arthur von Schwertfuehrer recieved his first photography prize in Davos - the 2nd award for sports photography. In 1920 he finally left the imperial exile and moved to Bavaria.

Between 1921 and 1923 Arthur von Schwertfuehrer studied photo technology at the technical college for photography in Munich majoring in photochemistry, afterwards he completed a training to become a portrait photographer and cinema technician. In 1923 he graduated from the "Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Fotografie" (Bavarian State Academy for Photography) and was awarded the overall grade "very good". At the beginning of the 1920s he worked at a film processing laboratory and shot one of his first films – the documentary "Auf den Spuren der Westgoten" (Following the traces of the Visigoths), which even led him to Spain.
As a cinematographer Arthur von Schwertfuehrer worked for famous film companies; Berlin, Paris, London and Hollywood were milestones in his life. He worked for a number of renowned directors such as Géza von Bolváry (1897-1961), Kurt Bernhardt (1899-1981), Jaap Speyer (1891-1952) and Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003). The famous Austrian-American director and multiple Oscar laureate Fred Zinnemann (1907-1997), e.g. "High Noon","The Nun's Story" and "The Day of the Jackal", whom he knew from his time in Vienna and Berlin, was a close friend and apprentice of Arthur von Schwertfuehrer and later paved the way for many new contacts. Also other well-known artists such as the Swiss-Jewish photographer and cinematographer Helmar Lerski aka Israel Schmuklerski (1871-1956), e.g. "Koepfe des Alltags" (Heads of everyday life) were among them. With both - Zinneman and Lerski, Arthur von Schwertfuehrer worked on the 1929 silent movies drama "Sprengbagger 1010" (Power Shovel ten ten) under the direction fo Carl-Ludwig Achaz-Duisberg (1889-1958). This movie is said to be the last silent movies of the world. Afterwards Arthur von Schwertfuehrer was sent to Hollywood for a few month to study upcoming sound movies techniques.

From 1922 to 1934 he was employed as a cinematographer in the film and movie industry, there was only one break between 1929 and 1931, when he worked as an audio engineer in Paris. In 1922 he took part in the first overflight of two all-metal passenger air crafts of the type JUNKERS F13 over the Grossglockner and the Grossvenediger as a cameraman. At that time the Münchner Zeitung (local newspaper of Munich) wrote the descriptive article "Die Alpenstürmer, über Großglockner und Großvenediger im vollbesetzten Verkehrsflugzeug". (Scaling the Alps over the Grossglockner and the Grossvenediger in a fully occupied passenger aircraft). In 1927 Arthur von Schwertfuehrer shot the movie "König der Mittelstürmer" (King of the center forwards), a silent movie accompanied with music which brings soccer to the screen in an unprecedented way. The Film Museum Munich elaborately restored the only copy of the movie which has been available as DVD since 2006. In 1934, Arthur von Schwertfuehrer was one of 18 cameramen in the production of the National Socialists propaganda film on the Nuremberg Rally of the NSDAP "Triumph of the Will" with Leni Riefenstahl as director and Sepp Allgeier as photographic director.

As an avowed opponent of the Nazis he came into conflict with the regime and refused to join the NSDAP. As a result he was banned from his profession and he switched to apparatus industry. In 1934 he worked for an manufacturer of cameras, instruments and pilot watches, the ASKANIA Werke in Berlin; in 1935 he changed to the renowned Cinematographic Machine and Camera Manufacturer Eugen Bauer GmbH and as from 1936 he worked as head of the subsidiary in Berlin. In 1940, at the age of 50 he was again drafted into the army and served as a major of the Air Force until the end of World War II, but no longer as a pilot.

After the war and his release from POW Arthur von Schwertfuehrer opened his own photographic studio in German film city of Wiesbaden and started to produce documentaries. He founded a newsreel titled "Welt im Bild" (world in picture). He took numerous portraits of celebrities of his time, in particular of stage and film actors such as Heinz Rühmann, Gisela Uhlen, Romy Schneider and many more, but also of politicians like President John F. Kennedy whom he photographed in the United States of America and in Germany. He worked as a commercial photographer for countless renowned companies. His tools of trade always consisted of professional cameras like LINHOF, HASSELBLAD and ROLLEIFLEX.
One of the most spectacular objects that Arthur von Schwertfuehrer shot, equally one of the most famous art treasures of the world, was the Bust of Nefertiti. After WWII it was the Americans that brought Nefertiti together with tons of other artefacts to the so-called "Central Collecting Point" at Landesmuseum Wiesbaden. There Arthur von Schwetführer by chance took the opportunity to photograph the bust and other art treasures probably for the first time in color.

When Dr. Walter Heering published PHOTOMAGAZIN, one of the first photographic magazines of postwar Germany, for the first time in 1949 he used as cover picture a color portrait of a young lady taken by Arthur von Schwertfuehrer. The picture is titled "Der Fruehjahrs-Hut"(The spring hat) and shows his wife, the actress Erika Raphael (1910-2006). The most well-known photographic work of Arthur von Schwertfuehrer, which made him famous, is titled "Dancer" and was later also called "Firebird". This early color photograph dates from 1953 and shows the american dancer and singer Vickie Henderson. Not only was it awarded the first prize of the Venice Biennale as best stage photograph but it also earned a place in the encyclopedia BROCKHAUS of 1956. The "Feuervogel" (Firebird) was printed in umpteen pictorials. It won prizes at national and international photo exhibitions. In 1951 and 1954 Arthur von Schwertfuehrer won awards at the PHOTOKINA in Cologne organized by L. Fritz Gruber. He received the Badge of Rio de Janeiro (World Photography Exhibition) and the IRIS award in Amsterdam and Antwerp. A poster with a color photograph of the Kurhaus Wiesbaden at night was given a special award at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958.

In 1955 Arthur von Schwertfuehrer founded his School for Color Photography in Wiesbaden. In the course of the following years he trained more than 1500 students from all over the world in one-week courses. Even the US Army (US PHOTO CORPS) had its staff which was working in the field of photography trained at his School for Color Photography. Since then he had also been working as a freelancer for ADOX-Fotowerke Dr. C. Schleussner GmbH.  In 1956, the Schleussner company launched a color negative film and in 1958 a color positive film. During this process Arthur von Schwertfuehrer carried out the technical color consultation with various test series. The highlight of his experimental color photography was an experiment called chromogenic color development through the projector demonstrated in the lecture hall. He had been fiddling about this experiment since 1957. Not until 1962 did he succeed in bringing this experiment to a close. Aided by the energetic support of his wife the color experimenter Arthur von Schwertfuehrer presented in a rather exciting way the gradual developing process of a color slide. Starting from the actual shot to the developing process to the finished photograph on a customized Leitz projector: "As you can see, you can't see anything ...", and only then, after a while, did the color image appear on the screen in front of the astonished audience. He presented this experiment, which somehow reminds of a magic trick, in numerous lectures at home and abroad. A Danish newspaper titled the experiment "A fantastic thriller act", magicians envied him for the act. His forecast from those days: "Color is the future".

Arthur Edler von Schwertfuehrer, the last adjutant of the Austrian Emperor, pilot, alchemist, magician and master of photography, pioneer and grand seigneur of color photography died on March 13, 1967, at the age of 76 in Wiesbaden.

Arthur von Schwertfuehrer had a gift that is useful to any photographer - he was able to come close to  people. He succeeded in the shortest time to break the ice and win the person to be photographed for himself and his projects, whether in the studio or on the streets.

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In his Wiesbaden studio at Hainerweg 12, now Gustav Freytag Street 12, Arthur von Schwertfuehrer made ​​numerous portrait shoots. For professional portrait photography usually the LINHOF TECHNICA large format camera (9x12) was used. Some of the old shoots were made ​​on glass negatives. Again, he early experimented with color photography.

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Much of his photographic jobs Arthur von Schwertfuehrer recieved from various fashion companies such as VOBACH. He worked mostly in his Wiesbaden studio but if the situation required, he also worked with the models outside the studio. In general this was performed by using the LINHOF TECHNICA large formate camera.

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In addition to fashion photography Arthur von Schwertfuehrer was often booked for promos of various kinds. He worked e.g. DKW Auto Union, Lufthansa, food producers, but also for local shops and businesses.

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Arthur von Schwertfuehrer was a lifelong much busier man. During his tenure as a cameraman and photographer, he came around a lot. The camera and a handful of films was always in his luggage.

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Night Shots
As a photographer very open for experimental photography, Arthur von Schwertfuehrer also produced night shots where he scored well. They were taken in medium format but also in large format.

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Arthur von Schwertfuehrer also produced documentary photographs. Some of these images are photographs of famous art treasures to which he had access. After WWII, the Allies had established so called Art Collecting Points in their occupation zones. The British in city of Celle, the Americans in Munich and Wiesbaden. After the war, many thousands of art treasures and other German-owned cultural heritage, which were kept hidden in mines and salt mines found their way into these collections. The WIESBADEN COLLECTING POINT was established in the former National Museum Wiesbaden. Director was art protection officer Capt. Walter I. Farmer (1911-1997). On the initiative of Walter I. Farmer on 12 May 1946 at the National Museum Wiesbaden an exhibition of Berlin's art objects was organized, among the bust of Nefertiti was. Until 1956 the bust was ten years in Wiesbaden to see. During this time Arthur von Schwertführer had some chance to photograph some of the numerous art treasures, including pictures of the bust of Nefertiti, perhaps for the first time ever in full color.

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Between 1962 and 1966 over 70 years of age Arthur von Schwertfuehrer traveled to the American continent several times. He visited Montreal and the Niagara Falls, Washington, Florida, New Orleans, California and San Francisco, as well as Mexico. With his HASSELBLAD 500C camera he had shot impressive medium-format color positives on ADOX and KODAK films. Titled IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA or NEW YORK IN THE LIGHT or NEW YORK & SAN FRANCISCO - TWO CITIES TWO OPPOSITES, he frequently showed impressive slide shows at home and abroad. From his America series the NEW YORK PORTFOLIO 1963|64 is probably the most outstanding - in 2013 it celebrated the 50th anniversary. On his pictorial language there is an ESSAY given. Even nowadays, after 50 years, these are spectacular shots and a late work of art in itself.
His last journey in 1966 took him to Mexico. He traveled from Mexico City to Acapulco and the West Coast where he visited a great number of prehistoric sites on the Yucatan peninsula. In Mexico they wanted him to shoot advertising photos for the holiday destination Mexico to boost the beginnings of tourism. On this journey he exclusively used the HASSELBLAD 500C model with interchangeable lenses.

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Photographers Stamps
During his career Arthur von Schwertfuehrer had following photographers and copyright stamps in use.

Theater & Movie
On film sets Arthur von Schwertfuehrer made ​​numerous film stills for various film companies like NOVA-Film GmbH, SCHORCHT-Film, ATLANTIS-Film GmbH and COMEDIA-Film. The processing of this material is still not complete.

1949: Begegnung mit Werther
1949: Der grosse Mandarin
1949: Eine grosse Liebe
1949: Mordprozess Dr. Jordan
1951: Maria Theresia

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approx. 1920: Auf den Spuren der Westgoten
1923: Dr. Sacrobosco, der grosse Unheimliche
1924: Die Tragoedie der Entehrten - Frauen der Nacht
1925: Die Liebe der Bajadere
1926: Unsere Emden
1926/27: Klettermaxe
1927: Der Koenig der Mittelstuermer
1927: Richthofen, der rote Ritter der Luft
1928: Maedchenschicksale
1928: Das letzte Fort
1928: Das Gesetz der schwarzen Berge
1928/29: Fraeulein Faehnrich
1929: Die weisse Nacht aka Das weisse Paradies
1929: Sprengbagger 1010
1929: Le Meneur De Joies - Die Schleiertaenzerin (aka Das nackte Maedchen)
1930: Moritz macht sein Glueck

1932: Kreuzer Emden
1933: Non Stop nach Afrika
1933/34: Wir parken wo es uns gefaellt
1934/35: Triumph des Willens
1935: Sonne und Schnee ueber Deutschland

1935/36: Kleine Weltreise durch Berlin
1950: Unser Stahlross
1953: Einmal kehr ich wieder - Die Dalmatinische Hochzeit

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Works of Arthur von Schwertfuehrer at collections, museums and auction houses

Artnet Auctions
JSMA - Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Oregon, USA
Museum of city of Hamburg
Museum of city of Furth im Wald
DPA - German Press Agency
DIF - German Film Institute
Private collections