Franz Benque

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Franz Benque, 1883.
StudioSebastianutti & Benque.
Franz Benque & Guglielmo Sebastianutti and family

Franz Benque (12 March 1841 – 30 March 1921), known in Brazil as Francisco Benque, was a German photographer.

Son of a professor, Benque was born in Ludwigslust, nowadays a city located in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, northern Germany. He received lessons of photography from C.C. Hersen before moving to the then Austrian city Trieste in 1864, where he opened a studio in partnership with the Italian watchmaker Guglielmo Sebastianutti (1825-1881), marrying Sebastianutti' stepdaughter, Isabella, in 1868.

Despite being recognized by the local press and specialized organizations, receiving - among other things - a silver medal in the World Fair of Paris in 1867,[1] Benque returned to Germany in 1869 and opened a studio with his cousin Conrad Kindermann in Hamburg.

One year later, in 1870, immigrated with his family to Brazil. With Alberto Henschel (1827-1882), a German from Berlin that migrated to Brazil in 1866, owner of the company Photographia Allemã (German Photography) with studios in Bahia and Pernambuco, Benque established the partnership Henschel & Benque Photographia Allemã that would become one of the most renowned Brazilian photography houses in that time.[1]

In 1878 Benque returned to Trieste and continued to work with Sebastianutti. In 1903 he moved to the Austrian city of Villach, where he died in 1921.



  • Schiffer-Ekhart, Armgard: Sebastianutti & Benque. Fünf Fotografen. Vier Generationen. Drei Kontinente. [text of Barbara Schaukal]. catalog of the exposition, Graz, museum Steiermärkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, 16.10.-13.11.1997.
  • Karp Vasquez, Pedro: Fotografós Alemães no Brasil do Século XIX, Deutsche Fotografen des 19. Jahrhunderts in Brasilien, ed. Metalivros, published in 2000.
  • Schwede, Sandra: Mit Licht und Tücke, Die Frühzeit der Photographie im Großherzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1839-1880), ed. Tectum Verlag, Marburg 2006, also: Universidade de Greifswald diss. 2006.