Lucien Chavan (1868-1942, photographer).

Large format portrait photograph of Albert Einstein as a young patent clerk at the Swiss Federal Patent Office, [Berne, c.1904].

Mounted on stiff card. 262 x 195mm including mount.

Maja Winteler-Einstein (1881-1951) – her husband Paul Winteler (1882-1952) – Besso family.
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Please note that the correct dimensions for the photograph are 262 x 195mm.
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Lot Essay

Einstein on the eve of the annus mirabilis.

Einstein had begun work at the Swiss Patent Office in Berne on 23 June 1902. His father died on 10 October that year, and on 6 January 1903 he married Mileva Marić: their first son, Hans Albert, was born on 14 May 1904. The present photograph shows Einstein at the age of 25, at about the time his appointment at the Swiss Patent Office was made permanent, in September 1904 (the striking checked suit also features in a twin image showing Einstein seated at a desk). In the following year, 1905, the unknown patent clerk was to publish four papers, on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and the equivalence of mass and energy, which were to revolutionise the world of theoretical physics.

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