23 JANUARY 2010 – 18 APRIL 2010
The first image produced using the camera obscura principle (1545), the original camera belonging to painter George Hendrik Breitner, daguerreotypes over 150 years old: the University of Leidens photographic collection is unique in many ways. It is both the oldest and the largest museum photography collection in the country, telling the whole story of the emergence and development of photography. It also includes work by contemporary photographers, and classic works by photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Diane Arbus.
Despite resistance from both artists and academics who felt it was beneath them in 1953 Hans van de Waal, professor of art history at the University of Leiden, began the universitys photography collection. His explicit aim was for the collection to illustrate the development of the medium. The acquisition of several large private collections provided firm foundations for the collection, which has been enriched with many purchases and donations over the decades. The photography collection is now part of Leiden University Librarys Special Collections.
The diversity and richness of the University of Leidens photography collection, as showcased in the exhibition, be reflected in a lavishly illustrated catalogue, with pieces by Maartje van den Heuvel and Wim van Sinderen.