Löwy, Franz

Franz Löwy


1 January 1883 Martinau, Mährisch-Ostrau (now Martinov, Czech Republic) – 2 May 1949 Rio de Janeiro

Franz Löwy was married to Rosa (Lisl), née Rosner. The couple had two daughters, Liselotte and Marianne Franziska Löwy, married Marty. Franz Löwy began his career as a photographer in Paris and then travelled to numerous European cities to continue his training. He worked from 9 May 1911 in Vienna as a commercial photographer and from 1911 to 1938 owned a studio at Mariahilfer Straße 17/15 in Vienna's 6th district, initially under the name Titan and later Werkstatt für moderne Bildnis-Photographie. He had further branches from the 1920s onwards at Lothringerstraße 20 in the 3rd district (1925–1927), in Jägerndorf (now Krnov, Czech Republic), in Karlsbad, and from 1927 in Paris, where he worked as a fashion photographer and also organized exhibitions in his studio. He joined the Photographische Gesellschaft in Vienna in 1916 and was one of the best known and reputed Viennese photographers in the inter-war years. Apart from portrait photography, he also took theatre, dance, fashion and nude photos, participated in numerous exhibitions and organized exhibitions in his studio in the 6th district. He published his work in illustrated newspapers and magazines and also wrote numerous articles on photography for specialist media. Until his flight in 1938, he lived with his wife and two daughters at Königsklostergasse 7 in the 6th district. After the annexation, his family were persecuted by the Nazis on account of their Jewish origins. The Viennese photographer Maria Wölfl, who sought a more favourable location for her studio, Aryanized Löwy's Werkstatt für moderne Bildnis-Photographie and inventory in March 1939 with the approval of the Vermögensverkehrsstelle (VVSt) (Property Transaction Office), after the Staatskommissar für die Privatwirtschaft (State Commissar for Private Industry) had given provisional approval on 10 July 1938. The estimation was carried out in July 1938 by the "Vertrauensmann" (contact) in the "Arisierungskommission" der Wiener Fotografenzunft (Aryanization Commission of the Vienna Photographers' Guild) and NSDAP member Heinrich Schuhmann, who functioned as temporary administrator of the studio until the Aryanization had been approved. An extensive photo plate archive belonging to Löwy was also taken over by the Aryanizer. According to a statement to the VVSt in June 1938 by Löwy's wife, "the entire business with all furnishing and equipment necessary for this profession was handed over." The studio was deleted from the commercial register on 31 December 1938. Franz Löwy fled in 1938 first to Paris (deregistration from Vienna on 18 July 1938) and then with his wife to Brazil. They lived in Rio de Janeiro, and Löwy worked there as a photographer. In accordance with a seizure decision of 22 November 1940, Vugesta sold the Löwy's remaining property in Vienna. His other assets were forfeited to the German Reich on the basis of the Verordnung über die Protektoratszugehörigkeit (Regulation on Protectorate Citizenship) of 2 November 1942.

In 1948 Löwy submitted a claim to the Landesgericht (provincial court) in Vienna against Maria Wölfl, now married Borik, for restitution of his studio, which ended in a settlement in October 1948. Borik agreed to pay 25,000 Austrian schillings and to return an enlarger and a camera with two lenses. The photo archive from Löwy's studio taken over by Maria Wölfl in 1938 was not included in the settlement and its whereabouts today are unknown.


From the project Durch das NS-Regime aus Österreich vertriebene und ermordete Fotografinnen und Fotografen und der Verbleib ihrer fotografischen Sammlungen (Subsidized by the National Fund of the Republic of Austria. Conducted by Walter Mentzel).

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Anna Auer/Kunsthalle Wien, Übersee. Flucht und Emigration österreichischer Fotografen 1920–1940. Exodus from Austria. Emigration of Austrian photographers 1920–1940 (= Ausstellungskatalog Kunsthalle Wien), Wien 1998.

Josef A. Detoni, Zur Ausstellung: Photo und Reklame. Ein Kapitel österreichischer Photographie, in: Allgemeine Photographische Zeitung 13 (1931) 9, 1–6, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?aid=phz&datum=1931&page=177 (3.12.2020).

Anton Holzer, Rasende Reporter. Eine Kulturgeschichte des Fotojournalismus. Fotografie, Presse und Gesellschaft in Österreich 1890 bis 1945, Darmstadt 2014.

K., Ausstellung künstlerischer Porträtphotographie des Ateliers Franz Löwy in Wien, in: Photographische Korrespondenz 713 (1920), 80–81, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?aid=phc&datum=1920&page=100 (3.12.2020).

N. N., Ausstellung im Militärgeographischen Institut, Wien 8. Friedrich Schmidtplatz 3 vom 28. Mai bis 9. Juni 1919, Wien 1919.

Neumann, Photogramm-Ausstellung Franz Löwy, in: Der deutsch-österreichische Photograph (1922) 44, 4–6, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?aid=dop&datum=1922&page=484 (3.12.2020).

Publications by the person / institution

Franz Löwy, Pariser Eindrücke, in: Allgemeine Photographische Zeitung 5 (1923) 9/10, 52–53, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?aid=phz&datum=1923&page=98 (3.12.2020).

Franz Löwy, Etwas über das österreichische Preßgesetz mit Bezugnahme auf die Porträtphotographie, in: Der deutsch-österreichische Photograph (1925) 8, 62–63, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?aid=dop&datum=1925&page=100 (3.12.2020).


Archiv der IKG Wien, Matriken, Geburtsbuch 1915, Marianne Franziska Löwy.

Archiv der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Gewerbeakt, Franz Löwy.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, Zl. 11769, Franz Löwy.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, Zl. 30249, Franz Löwy.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Gewerbe, 1189, Franz Löwy.

WStLA, Bundespolizeidirektion Wien, Historische Meldeunterlagen, Franz Löwy (1914).
WStLA, LG für Zivilrechtssachen, 50 RK 69/1948 Franz Löwy.
WStLA, M.Abt. 119, A41, VEAV 905, 6. Bez., Franz Löwy.