Heinz Held, Magnum exhibition at the photokina, Cologne, 1956, Photograph, © Museum Ludwig, Cologne

Henri Cartier-Bresson andHeinz Held.
People with Pictures

March 24 – August 20, 2017

Pho­tog­ra­phy Room Pre­sen­ta­tion

The Mu­se­um Lud­wig holds an out­s­tand­ing col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs en­com­pass­ing some 70,000 works from the be­gin­n­ing of pho­tog­ra­phy in the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry to the pre­sent. Start­ing March 24, parts of the Pho­to­graph­ic Col­lec­tion will be show­cased in a spe­cial Pho­tog­ra­phy Room within the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of the Lud­wig Mu­se­um in an ef­fort to gra­d­u­al­ly pre­sent the col­lec­tion. The room pro­vides the Mu­se­um Lud­wig with a per­ma­nent space ded­i­cat­ed to pho­tog­ra­phy.

The French pho­to­g­ra­pher Hen­ri Carti­er-Bres­son (1908–2004) and the Cologne-based pho­to­g­ra­pher Heinz Held (1918–1990) met sev­er­al times: 1956, when Carti­er-Bres­son trav­eled to Cologne, where his pic­tures were shown at the pho­tok­i­na fair, Heinz Held as­sist­ed in in­s­talling the ex­hi­bi­tion. They al­so met at L. Fritz Gru­ber’s house, the foun­der and head of the pho­tok­i­na ex­hi­bi­tions. It is not passed down what they talked about. But they had a sim­i­lar ap­proach to pho­tog­ra­phy: Us­ing a small cam­era, strolling un­no­ticed around and wait­ing for the mo­ment, when some­thing un­ex­pect­ed, touch­ing, fun­ny would sur­face in the pic­ture – usu­al­ly un­no­ticed by the per­sons pho­to­graphed. Carti­er-Bres­son spoke of the “de­ci­sive mo­ment.” And it was the man or wo­m­an of the street they both showed in­ter­est in, not the star or well-known per­sons.

From the spec­trum of both their works this pre­sen­ta­tion shows pic­tures de­pict­ing peo­ple in mu­se­ums, in the ci­ty, when a paint­ing, a sculp­ture, a poster or street sign en­ter in­to dia­logue with their view­ers or passers­by. Th­ese are the cor­re­la­tions lead­ing Carti­er-Bres­son to iden­ti­fy the sur­re­al pon­ten­tial of pho­tog­ra­phy. Heinz Held found therein a “mag­ic”, that “stir the heart.”


To ex­pand our ex­hi­bi­tion area, we are al­so si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly open­ing the FO­TO LAB, a space in which chil­dren and adults can par­ti­ci­pate and ex­per­i­ment. Vis­i­tors will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence how a cam­era ob­s­cu­ra—the orig­i­nal cam­er­a—­works, pose in front of a pho­to mu­ral, or put to­gether their own ex­hi­bi­tion us­ing fif­ty re­pro­duc­tions from the Pho­to­graph­ic Col­lec­tion. Th­ese re­pro­duc­tions were pro­vid­ed by Pix­um, an on­line pho­to ser­vice based in Cologne. This space will an­i­mate the Mu­se­um Lud­wig’s Pho­to­graph­ic Col­lec­tion in a num­ber of ways while al­so mak­ing it more ac­ces­si­ble.