Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Transforms With Inaugural 20th Century Photography Exhibition




After ten years of renovation, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the national museum of Dutch culture and history, reopened in April 2013. Since then over 4 million visitors have marvelled at this stunning 19th century building and its world-famous collection. The final stage of the museum’s transformation is the re-opening of the Philips Wing.

The Philips Wing has been renovated by Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz. The gallery circuit boasts thirteen exhibition spaces, including a separate gallery for changing photography exhibitions and a large restaurant with a sun terrace. A new culinary concept has been developed for the restaurant, with chefs changing with the seasons, like guest curators. The Rijksmuseum will use the Philips Wing to organise national and international exhibitions which could be in contrast to its permanent collection.

The inaugural exhibition in the Philips Wing will be a major photographic survey, Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century, 1 November – 11 January 2015.

This will be the Rijksmuseum’s first ever photography exhibition to show off the outstanding collection of 20,000 20th century works that it has amassed since deciding in 1994 to extend its photographic exhibits beyond the 19th century. The collection is especially remarkable for its large number of original prints, no modern re-prints are shown.

In a display of more than 400 images, the exhibition will trace photography’s key developments during the last century, including the introduction of colour, the growth of documentary and news photography and photography as a pure art form. It will also explore photography’s role in fashion and advertising.

Rare photographs by Brassaï, Ed van der Elsken, John Gutmann, Lewis Hine, William Klein, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Joel Meyerowitz, László Moholy-Nagy, Eadweard Muybridge, Man Ray and W. Eugene Smith will be on show.

Words: Juliette Bogaers Photo: Courtesy Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


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