The following document is an abstract of a paper accepted for presentation at the Visual Delights III — Magic and Illusion conference at the University of Sheffield, July 15-17th 2005.

This paper will focus on the stagings by Edouard von Kilanyi (1852-1895) who sparked the living picture craze in the United States just as Edison's motion pictures were being shown for the first time commercially at the nearby Edison Kinetoscope Parlour in 1893. Living Pictures became the rage subsequently to that with prominent imitators including Oscar Hammerstein. Kilanyi's status was short lived and he was seeking a comeback with a bigger and better version of living pictures in 1895, his death coinciding with opening night. Before Kilanyi became a star in the United States. However, he staged Living Pictures with varying degrees of success in Berlin, Paris, and London. This paper will seek to sketch out his career as an impresario of Living Pictures and suggest how it impacted on the visual culture of the mid 1890s.


3 May 2005