Works from the collection
Peter Weller: Marienhütte near Eiserfeld/Sieg, 1909–1914
The Marienhütte Mine in the Siegerland region photographed by Peter Weller (1868–1940) existed from 1876 to 1926/27. For a long time, it was the leading region in ore mining and iron processing, the setting of new mines was documented until the 15th century. The economic structure of the Siegerland was characterized by the fact that there was a close connection between agriculture and forestry, between craft and industrial operations. People lived and worked in small associations, made use of regional conditions and kept transport routes as short as possible. But as stable as this network was, due to technical progress in the 19th century, competition from the nearby Ruhr area or, for example, from the English mining areas, the Siegerland fell more and more behind and, despite its high-quality ore, lost its leading position on the market. In the period from around 1860, however, the Siegerland flourished again. The establishment of the Sieg-Ruhr railway connection was an important indicator, because it was now possible, for example, to feed the technically new blast furnaces with coke instead of traditional charcoal. The Marienhütte shown on the photo by Weller had such a blast furnace, a system that was advanced at the time of its creation.
Peter Weller was a self-taught photographer. As usual at the time, he began to work as a coal-boy after elementary school. He also worked underground until he finally got into the mine administration and embarked on a commercial career. Around 1900 he seems to have started to deal with the medium and to photograph typical phenomena of his surroundings. Not only constructions of mining and the related industry are among Weller's motifs, he also included rural life and scenic moments. Two exhibitions are documented during his lifetime (1910 in Altenkirchen and 1913 in Essen), a third one did not take place in 1915 due to the First World War. Peter Weller gave up photography, left the Siegerland to run a cinema in Lüdenscheid and later probably in Düsseldorf as well. He died there in 1940.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur