The lifetime dream of Knoxville artist/photographer, Joseph Knaffl,
was fulfilled in 1899 with his award-winning photograph, The “Knaffl
Madonna & Child”. He got the idea from looking at the image in the full
moon. He achieved success and fame with this world famous photograph
depicting a biblical study of the Holy Mother, Mary, holding baby Jesus.
Thousands of this highly acclaimed portrait were sold locally & around
the world in 1899 and the 1900’s. Its fame was endorsed by a New York
newspaper, giving it a full page news story. This Knoxville photograph
also won many international awards & medals. It was very much in demand.
Several Sittings Were Required
The photograph was made in Knoxville, TN in Knaffl’s
studio on Gay Street, the main street. They chose 18 year old Emma
Franz, who later became Mrs. Albert Hope, as the Madonna. Ignoring
gender considerations, Joseph chose his own baby daughter, Josephine, as
baby Jesus. The clanging of the street cars outside of the building
frightened the baby and made her cry. It wasn’t until the third attempt
days later on a quiet Sunday afternoon that success was achieved. His
lifelong dream fulfilled.
Hallmark Made Two Christmas Cards
A few years ago, The Hallmark Company thought so
highly of Knaffl’s “Madonna & Child” photograph that they offered two
separate Christmas Cards using the photo with the Biblical scripture,
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” A tribute to the
The original photograph was created in 1899 using state-of-the-art
photography of its time. The process we have used today to re-create
this color copy is by using the latest in digital photography equipment
to achieve the ultimate in quality, softness and life-like color. Photo
is printed on heavy, textured, acid-free, pigmented stock that will not
fade, wither or destruct over time. It is a true reproduction of this
over a century old, world famous photograph. Now being re-issued by
Joseph Knaffl’s grandson, David Baker, as a tribute to his mother,
Josephine Knaffl Baker, who was baby Jesus in the photograph.