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Stickybacks in the Netherlands

(We are most grateful to Róman Kienjet for the overview below of stickybacks in the Netherlands. Róman's book on the subject, "De snelfotograaf" will be published in the Spring of 2022, in Dutch. It will contain a large list of addresses, dates, and names and some beautiful illustrations from many different sources, including the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.)

Cover Illustration De Snelfotograaf

Spiridione Grossi “invented” the stickyback photograph in the UK in the early days of the 20th century. Abraham Dudkin took over his Brighton studio in 1911 and shortly after the photo-type travelled across the canal to Europe. Dudkin’s relatives seem to have had (as János Mátyás Balogh has pointed out) a large part in this story. The stickyback travelled to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, China, the United States, and so forth. Italy followed Hungary in the spring of 1912 and Belgium, the Netherlands and France met stickyback photography (or Leimrücken) through Germany, starting around June 1912.

But, in the meantime something changed. Although stickybacks, Leimrücken or the Hungarian enyves hát all advertised (through name and in physical appearance) a sticky back (as in postage stamps), its Belgium, French and Dutch counterparts had an untarnished back. The companies who made them also didn’t go by other translated versions of “stickyback”. Instead, they used different nomenclature. Most Dutch studios advertised “snelfotografie”, what, in a sense, was a collective term to address several (then) generic names such as “tiptop”, “Amerikaantje” or “kino foto”. The Dutch stickback-type photos were introduced by German companies who named themselves “the American Tip-Top Co.” or “the American Automatic Photo Co.” They fashionably took on an American-styled name, together with an American-styled approach to commerce and marketing. Other smaller Dutch photo companies copied these names: American Snel-Foto Company, Elite Kino Foto American, American Automatic Fotografie, American Tip-Top Snelfotografie, American Royal Foto Tip Top Cy., etc., etc. As a result, “Tip top” and “American Automatic Photo” became highly integrated, common terms. Although the German companies (with branches in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands) were, no doubt, the biggest manufacturers of snelfoto’s in these countries, they were shortly after June 1912 accompanied by many native studios. Within eight years the Dutch became acquainted with over 150 snelfoto studios. Some were active for just a few months; others surpassed their German examples (which ended all activities in 1918). Overall, Dutch stickyback-style photographs were made until the early 1920s.

Below are some example stickybacks from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. This link will take you to more snelfoto’s from the Rijksmuseum collection: American Automatic-Verzameld werk van R. Kienjet - Alle Rijksstudio's - Rijksstudio - Rijksmuseum

Stickybacks from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Langestraat 90, Alkmaar | American Tip Top Foto Company,| before 08-07-1913 – after 07-1917. | Rijksmuseum inventory number yet to be determined (recent acquisition)

Stickyback from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Kalverstraat 32, Amsterdam | American Automatic Photo Cy. | 15-06-1912 – 25-01-1918 | Rijksmuseum inventory number RP-F-2001-17-382

A strip of Stickybacks from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Spuistraat 12, Den Haag | Fotografie Elite | 7-07-1911 – ca. 1920 | Rijksmuseum inventory number RP-F-F15058



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This page was last modified: 27 October 2021, 16:48

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