Oscar V. Lange

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Group portrait of Central Pacific Railroad Sacramento Shops painters (1882)
"View of Mt. Tamalpais"

Oscar Victor Lange (1853–1913) was a leading photographer and occasional landscape painter in the San Francisco Bay Area of California during the late 19th century. His work is typically credited as "O.V. Lange".

Lange was born on June 6, 1853 in Hoboken, New Jersey to German immigrants Albert Clement and Emma (Leischhardt) Fahrenberg. His father was a portrait painter. The Fahrenbergs were constantly on the move, showing up in New Orleans during the 1860 census and in Texas for the 1870 census. In the 1870s, Oscar moved to San Francisco and adopted the surname "Lange" while working with Ernest W. Newth making stereographs. In the 1880s, he opened his own studio and gallery on Market Street, moving to Montgomery Street by the 1890s. His residence by this time was across the Bay in Berkeley, California.

Lange's most widely-photographed subjects were architectural and included structures in San Francisco, Oakland, the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, and the downtown section of Berkeley. He also photographed the workers of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroad shops in Sacramento, California. Although not a member of the faculty of the University of California, he did work on a number of projects for the University including some astronomical photography at the Lick Observatory. He was friends with the noted architect Bernard Maybeck who served as one of the pall bearers at his funeral.

Lange never married. He died in Berkeley on December 9, 1913 from tuberculosis.


  • Berkeley Gazette, December 10, 1913, page 1
  • Oscar V. Lange papers, 1887–1913, Bancroft Library collection, University of California, Berkeley
  • US Census 1900, California, Series T623, Roll 83, Page 118
  • US Census 1880, California, Series T9, Roll 75, Page 329

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