Great Photography and Painting in Amsterdam

by Chris Murray on September 16, 2013

In August I visited two extraordinary museums of photography in central Amsterdam.
Foam, on Keizersgracht, featured the exhibition Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937. His portraits of artists, writers, directors, actors, and other creative people are beautiful. Yesterday I was looking at the October issue of Vanity Fair, which celebrates the magazine’s 100th anniversary. Vanity Fair is also celebrating its centennial with a book from Abram’s titled Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age, which features a number of Steichen’s photographs.
Marlene Dietrich, 1934 © Edward Steichen

Steichen’s portrait of Gloria Swanson in 1924 was the inspiriation for Greg Gorman’s portrait of Michael Jackson in 1987 featured in Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography, organized by Govinda Gallery and the Columbus Museum.

Foam also featured Infidel, a compelling exhibition of British photojournalist Tim Heatherington’s photographs and videos. This exhibition features large-scale intimate portraits of the American troops stationed in the Kerengal Valley of Afghanistan. His video diary, also featured in the exhibition, is a profound record of Heatherington at work. Hetherington was killed by shrapnel while covering the 2011 Lybian civil war.
Untitled, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008 © Tim Hetherington

Huis Marseille, the museum of photography also on the Keizersgracht canal, featured an in-depth exhibition of Walker Evans photographs, one of the leading figures of 20th century photographic history. Walker Evans/Decade by Decade included photographs from every phase of Evans’ career. Huis Marseille is located in a 18th century canal house and always presents beautifully curated exhibitions.
Pabst Bule Ribbon Sign, Chicago, Illinois, 1946 © Walker Evans

The Rijks Museum is one of the greatest museums in the world and has been closed for 10 years for major renovations of the extraordinary building. Recently reopened, it was awesome to visit that Dutch national museum once again and to enjoy the results of a very successful renovation.

If you’re in Amsterdam you can walk from the Rijks museum to the Van Gogh museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Contemporary Arts in just a few minutes. Both of those great museum’s buildings have also been beautifully updated. Don’t miss them if you’re in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum

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