Photography Collection

The Photography Museum (now Photography Collection) was opened in 1963. With over 850,000 photos, it ranks among the leading collections in Europe. Although its main focus is on photography up to 1980, the collection is being consistently expanded to include contemporary themes as well. With its purchase of the collection created by the photographer and Jewish emigrant Josef Breitenbach in 1977, it gained over 600 original works by internationally renowned photographers including Berenice Abbott, Robert Capa and André Kertesz. These now form the centerpiece of the collection. Another key addition was the 1984 purchase of Uwe Scheid’s collection on the history of 19th century photography containing over 1,000 items. In 1985 the Franz Hanfstaengl Foundation was incorporated into the museum. And since 1991, the museum has benefited from a further 30 archives and estates. These include more than 1,300 vintage prints bequeathed by Herbert List, and the archives of Thomas Hoepker, Philipp Kester, Stefan Moses, Regina Relang, Frank Eugene Smith, Hermann Landshoff, and the German magazine Quick.

One major attraction for visitors is the so-called "Kaiserpanorama" – an early form of mass media popular in Europe around 1900 – which allows up to 25 people simultaneously to watch 3-D ”slide shows” on cities or foreign travel. Preserved in its original condition, the "Kaiserpanorama" is located in the permanent exhibition "Typically Munich!".

A specialist library comprising more than 12,000 volumes and 1,000 rare books on photography is available for use by students and researchers.

The collection’s reputation as a major center of photography was established by a series of monographic and theme-related exhibitions during the 1970s. The past 20 years have seen numerous retrospectives on photographers such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Roger Ballen, Felice Beato, Joachim Brohm, Samuel Bourne, Frank Eugene Smith, Thomas Hoepker, Annie Leibovitz, Herbert List, Stefan Moses, Irving Penn, Toni Schneiders, Giorgio Sommer and Juergen Teller.

Some of the theme-based exhibitions have set out to document the cultural history of photography. These explore the social and political impact of photojournalism and the importance of home and family photography.

Manifestations of contemporary European photography are featured in the so-called "FORUM”.

Selected works from the archives of photographer Philipp Kester (1873-1958) are available at www.bpk-images.de.

Some of the works of photographer Elfriede Reichelt (1883-1953) and a number of works by photographer Ingeborg Hoppe (1920-1983) may be viewed at www.deutschefotothek.de.

In spring 2012, the archives of German-American photographer Hermann Landshoff (1905 -1986) were donated to the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s Photography Collection for research purposes. The following year, the findings of this intensive research were presented at an exhibition entitled “Hermann Landshoff: A Retrospective. Photographs 1930-1970” and in its accompanying publication. This was the general public‘s first opportunity to view Landshoff’s varied photographic oeuvre which has been especially influential in the field of fashion photography. His extensive portrait cycles of contemporary photographers, artists and authors are unique in their field. The archive’s 3,600 photographs have been digitized as part of the research project and may now be accessed in their entirety at www.deutschefotothek.de. For any enquiries about the images, please contact www.bpk-images.de.

Bildarchiv

Professional-quality digital image files of the exhibits in the various collections can be obtained from our picture gallery. Please refer to the german Bildarchiv for details.

A selection of portraits from the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s total holding is available in our portrait collection.