PB: Wednesday, 30 August 2006 NEWSLETTER


Théologo Family Album 1870-2006

In my capacity as ACG Art Curator, I brought on 30 August 2006 the Théologo Family Album to the ACG Art Collection. I noticed this album was abandoned on Levidou Street of Kifissia, suburb of Athens, earlier in 2006. As the album was not in a good condition - its front cover and its spine were missing, while many of its pages were left without prints - it was decided not to preserve it. However its surviving back cover is kept as evidence of its superb elegance, having covers wrapped in purple velvet and framed by gilt bronze. As it stood, the album contained 44 late 19th century prints in large and small formats by the following notable photographers: Jean Antonopoulo (3 prints from 1870-1880); Carl Böhringer (19 prints from 1897); Camille Brion (1 print from 1890); Cantas Sœurs (2 prints from 1893-1894); Carl Merlin (16 prints from 1890-1895); Rhomaïdès Frères (1 print from 1890); Walery (1 print from 1890) and Anonymous (1 print from 1890).

Remarkable about the Théologo album is the opportunity it offers to glance at 'bourgeois' family life as captured in photographic studios largely in Athens, but also at Marseille and Odessa, before the turn of the twentieth century. Aside of being particularly beautiful, these photographs document the upper class family's habit of keeping a systematic record especially of its young members on an annual basis. In sorting the material, the task of the curator was likened to that of the detective, obliging the use even the minutest evidence encapsulated on each individual print in order to throw light on the past. Consequently, Merlin's photograph entitled Portrait #1 of Irène Théologo, Two Months Old of 1893 was instrumental in identifying the family as 'Théologo', while another entitled Triple Portrait of Georges, Irène and Iphigénie of 1895 gave the age difference between each of the three children, a clue which helped with dating the prints.

The Théologo album may be considered significant to the life of the College, in its capacity as a treasure trove of late 19th century family photography. All of this material is added to the ACG Art Collection, which had already included a substantial number of the aforementioned photographers, and is fully published at, being available as much for research of interested parties as to be exhibited or loaned.

Megakles Rogakos

INFORMATION: Megakles Rogakos, The American College of Greece - ACG Art
6 Gravias Street, Agia Paraskevi, Athens, GR 15342, Greece, T: +30-210-6009800/1456, E: