Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der Elsken 1925 - 1990

Represented by:

Annet Gelink Gallery

Ed van der Elsken was a Dutch street photographer and filmmaker who became known to the general public with the photo book Love on the Left Bank (1956). Van der Elsken is considered the most influential Dutch photographer of the 20th century. Van der Elsken started photographing in the late 1940s. Like many of his contemporaries, Van der Elsken moved to Paris in the early 1950s, which was the epicentre of arts and culture at the time. In Saint-Germain-des-Prés Van der Elsken came across a group of bohemians whose lives on the fringes of society he meticulously documented in the photographic novel Love on the Left Bank. This book already contains many characteristics of Van der Elsken's later work. His stage was the street, and he had penchant for eccentrics and people at the bottom of society. Thanks to his sense of humour and an open mind, Van der Elsken was able approach and relate to the most diverse people, ranging from the slightly uncomfortable teenage twins he encountered at Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt, to a kissing couple in Marseille and the Yakuza gangsters in Tokyo. Thanks to this open-minded and bold approach, Van der Elsken managed to capture the zeitgeist perfectly. In fact, het captured it so well that his work still receives a lot of attention today. Van der Elsken also had the talent to record exactly what he was looking for, if necessary he directed the scene on the spot. From the late 50s onwards, Van der Elsken used the entire world as his stage. In 1959 he set out to tour the world, visiting Japan, the US, Malaysia, the Philippines and Mexico, among others. The journey resulted in the book Sweet life (1966), which Van der Elsken had compiled and edited by himself. Initially, Sweet life was only a hit in Japan where it was connected to the work of Japanese contemporaries. Today, the stream-of-conscious book with high-contrast black-and-white photos is considered a masterpiece and a highlight in Van der Elsken's oeuvre. By the end of the 1960s, Van der Elsken exchanged Amsterdam for the nearby village of Edam and started working in colour. Something that was not done among photographers at the time. It resulted in the books Eye Love You, Hallo! and Avonturen op het Land. At the time of The discovery of Japan (1988) he had switch back to black and white film again

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Restauration project Ed van der Elsken
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam - Camera In Love - Ed van der Elsken
Restauration project Ed van der Elsken
"The videos of #EdNu are about the topicality of the work of Ed van der Elsken: why is his work interesting right now, now that we have all become photographers and filmmakers and make selfies, Instagram posts and vlogs?"
Ed van der Elsken once described himself as a hunter. A photographer who seduced and challenged his prey, and struck at just the right moment. But he was more than that. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presented the largest overview of the photographic and filmic work of Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) in twenty five years. A unique figure, Van der Elsken was renowned as a street photographer, and is recognised as the most important Dutch photographer of the 20th century. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Ed van der Elsken - Camera in Love 4 Feb - 21 May 2017

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Het betere camerawerk
Jan de Bont has gained some space again. Last year, fourteen photos by Ed van der Elsken were donated to the Rijksmuseum: classical work from his famous photo albums. The photos hung at De Bont in a room he called the 'Dutch room'. One of the photos is an earlier print of 'Vali Meyers in front of the mirror', the cover of 'A love story in Saint-Germain-des Pres (1951), the most important book in Dutch photo history. And that Dutch room was not a question of nostalgia, but of the firm conviction that Ed van der Elsken is a world-class photographer.
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Volkskrant
The Eye of Photography
Ed van der Elsken pursued a form of aesthetics, of visual truth devoid of any artifice, and a type of impudent, sensuous beauty. He was fascinated by proud, spirited eccentric characters who crossed his path.
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The Eye of Photography
Punks, beatniks, vagabonds: Ed van der Elsken's world – in pictures
About Ed van der Elsken's first retrospective in colour in the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam: "Dutch photographer’s joyful and intimate images of young bohemians captured the lives, loves and struggles of those immersed a global counterculture."
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The Guardian

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Although Ed van der Elsken passed away nearly 30 years ago, his work can still count on great attention. For example, in 2017 the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam extended the major retrospective Camera in Love to Van der Elsken's oeuvre. The exhibition was a hit with young and old alike. Curator Hripsimé Visser says: "It is striking how many young people are true fans. In this era of perfect selfies, they are impressed by his direct and unpolished street photography. Apparently that ties in perfectly with the current spirit of the times and making his work still very current. " The fact that Van der Elsken's work strikes a chord with young people is also apparent from the fact that his book Amsterdam! (1979) was reissued by a Dutch record label specializing in hip-hop. A crowdfunding campaign organized by the Nederlands Fotomuseum to save Van der Elsen's massive, 45,000 piece slide archive was also a success. In 2019, the museum is organizing the Lust for Life exhibition on his colour work. Van der Elsken's oeuvre also enjoys great international status and attention continues to be paid to his work. The Camera in Love exhibition travelled on to the Musée Jeu de Paume, Paris (2017). Before that, Van der Elsken's work was exhibited at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2015), Amsterdam City Archives (2014), Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010), The Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo (2003), The Palazzina di Giardini, Modena (2002). In addition, a number of his books are listed in Martin Parr’s reference book on photobooks The Photobook.

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Ed van der Elsken 1925-1990 Born in Amsterdam, died in Edam Selected solo exhibitions 2019 Sweet Life, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Lust For Life, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, NL 2018 Ed van der Elsken through the eyes of Jan de Bont, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL Sidewalks, the Bakery, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2017 Camera in Love, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL Camera in Love, Jeu de Paume, Paris, FR 2015 Me and You: Mario Testino and Ed van der Elsken, with Mario Testino, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Johan and Ed, with Johan van der Keuken, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Sin Censura, MATE, Lima, PE Ed van der Elsken fotografeert het Philips Natlab, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL Love on the Left Bank, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, JP Cuckoo, with Johannes Schwartz, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2014 Color & Motion, with Robby Müller, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Imprimés, Le Point du Jour, Cherbourg-Octeville, FR Hit & Run. Ed van der Elsken fotografeert het Philips Natlab, Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, NL Love on the Left Eye, with Nobuyoshi Araki, Ed van der Elsken Archives, Amsterdam, NL Amsterdam! Ed van der Elsken, Stadsarchief, Amsterdam, NL Love on the Left Bank, Fotomuseum, Antwerpen, BE 2013 Love on the Left Bank, Galerie VU, Paris, FR 2012 LOOK.ED!, Annet Gelink Gallery, selected by Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Marijke van Warmerdam, curated by Jhim Lamoree, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL (with publication) 2010 Tokyo Symphony, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, NL 2009 Het Waterlooplein, Double exhibition with Lo Andela, NFTA, Amsterdam, NL My Amsterdam, Mireille Mosler Ltd., New York, New York, USA 2008 Amsterdam!, f 5,6 galerie für fotografie, München, DE 2005 Summer Show, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL My Amsterdam, Foam Amsterdam (curated by Martin Parr), NL Eye for Cats, Het Kattenkabinet, Amsterdam, NL Love on the Left Bank, Museum of Art, Kochi, IN 2004 Bagara, De Hallen, Haarlem, NL 2003 Love on the Left Bank, Metropolitan Museum Tokyo, JP Adventures in the Countryside, Edam, NL 2002 Ed van der Elsken, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milano, IT Long Live Me! Palazzina di Giardini, Modena, IT 2001 Eye love you, Centre Cultural de la Fundacio "la Caixa", Barcelona; De Beyerd, Breda, NL Ed van der Elsken, Photographers' Gallery, London, UK 2000 Show who you are, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Ed van der Elsken: Sweet Life. Fotografie + Film 1949-1990, Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, DE 1999 L'Amour, Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris, FR 1997 Ed van der Elsken: Hong Kong, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam, NL 1996 Love on the Left Bank, Paris 1950-1954, Photographer's Gallery, London, UK Ed van der Elsken, L`Amour! Foto`s 1950 - 1990, Kunsthal Rotterdam, NL Ed van der Elsken, Entre film et photos, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, FR 1994 Ed van der Elsken in kleur, Bloom Gallery Amsterdam, NL Das Paris der fünfziger Jahre, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, DE 1993 Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, New York, USA Autoportrait, Citroën Galerie, Amsterdam, NL 1991 Ed van der Elsken, Once Upon a Time, foto`s 1950-1990: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Bunkamura Gallery, Tokyo, JP (1993), Daimaru department store, Osaka (1993), Fotomuseum Winterthur (1994) Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris, FR 1988/89 De andere kant van Japan. Foto’s van Ed van der Elsken 1959-1960, Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, NL 1988-89 De Ontdekking van Japan. Foto’s van Ed van der Elsken 1961-1988, Canon Image Centre, Amsterdam, NL Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL (exhibition on the occasion of de David Roëll Award 1989) 1987 Canon Rotown Gallery, Rotterdam Jong Nederland, Canon Photo Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 1986/87 Exhibition on Paris and Saint-Germain-des-Prés Tours Japan 1986 Une histoire d’amour à Saint-Germain-des Prés (mois de la Photo 1986), Institut Néerlandais, Paris, FR L'Amour a Saint Germain des Prés, Printemps, Tokyo, JP 1984 Amsterdam?, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1983/84 Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1981 Parijs in de jaren Vijftig, Cultureel Centrum De Beyerd, Breda, NL Paris of the Fifties, Canon Photo Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 1979 Van der Elsken’s Amsterdam, Amsterdam’s Historical Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1977 Eye Love You, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1968 Sweet Life, De Vishal, Haarlem, NL 1966 Hee... zie je dat, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1960 Foto’s van Ed van der Elsken, Waag, Nijmegen, NL 1959 Foto’s van Ed van der Elsken. De Zonnehof, Amersfoort, NL Foto’s Ed. van der Elsken. Groninger Museum voor stad en Lande, Groningen, NL Cultureel Centrum De Meyerd, Breda, NL Ed van der Elsken. Leven om te fotograferen (Projection of colour slides of a visit to the African interior), Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, NL 1956 ‘t Venster, Rotterdam, NL Canteen Steendrukkerij De Jong en Co: Ed van der Elsken, Hilversum, NL 1955 Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, US (photographs of Saint’Germain-des-Près) Art Institute, Chicago, US (photographs of Saint’Germain-des-Près) Selected group exhibitions 2018 Photo Miyota, Asama International Photo Festival, Japan Hugo Claus, con amore, BOZAR, Brussels, BE 2015 FRAMING FOLK, Adventures in the Countryside, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Den Haag, NL The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: COBRA and It’s Legacy, Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA 2014 Imprimes, Centre d’art Editeur, Paris, FR Ordinary Freaks, Kunstlerhaus KM, Graz, AT Punctum. Reflections on Photography, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, AT Modern Times, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL How far how near, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 2013 De Grote Kunstshow, Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, NL Wit, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, NL From Holland with Love / Liefde in beeld en liefde voor het beeld, Nederlands Fotomuseum, NL 2012 The Traveler – A visual journey by Alexander Ramselaar, TENT, Rotterdam, NL 2009 Places To Be. New York – Shanghai – Tel Aviv – Texas – Zagreb, video program The Bakery, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2008 Amsterdam, Galerie für fotografie f5,6, München,DE Faces. Portraits in the XXth century photography, curated by Walter Guadagnini and Francesco Zanot, LUCCAdigitalPHOTOfest, Lucca, IT 2007 Colour before color, curated by Martin Parr, Hasted Hunt gallery, New York, New York, USA Mapping the city, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL Sixties!, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, NL 2006 In the Face of History: European Photographers in the 20th Century, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK 2004 Foto's van Vijftig, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands, NL 2003 Summer Show, film and video programme, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Apres la fin de l'art, Musee Art Moderne, St.Etienne, FR 2002 A'dam and Eve, On sex, tolerance and other dependencies Stichting de Appel, Amsterdam, NL Trottoirs - Side Walks, Chantal Crousel, Paris, FR 2001 We set off in high spirits', curated by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, New York, USA Modena per La Fotografia 2001, Galleria Civica, Modena, IT 1997 Documenta X, Kassel, DE 1990 Col.Lecció x Col.Lecció. Un recorregut per la forografia europea, Palau Robert, Barcelona, ES 1989 De verbeelding (self-portraits of Dutch Photographers), Amsterdam, NL 1989/90 Foto in omslag (travelling exhibition), De Zonnehof, Amersfoort, NL 1988 Canon Image Centre (photocopies od the book Elsken: Japan 1959.1960), Amsterdam, NL Fotografie in de zomer, Cultureel Centrum De Beyerd, Breda, NL Roots & Turns. 20th Century Photography in The Netherlands, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, Houston, US 1987 Naakt voor de camera, 1840-1987, De Meervaart, Amsterdam, NL 1986 Het fotoboek. 4 Nederlandse Fotografen en Parijs. (Foto ’86), Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, NL 1985 Amsterdam 1950-1959 20 fotografen, Gemeente-archief, Amsterdam, NL 1983 Fotografie in Nederland, Uitleenzaal Stichting Beeldende Kunst SBK, Amsterdam, NL 1982/83 De omroep in Nederland, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL 1982 Veranderingen in de fotojournalistiek 1960-’80, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1981 De stad in zwart/wit, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam, NL Het Portret, Qbus, Lisse 1980 Het Portret, Canon Photo Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 1979 Aktie, werkelijkheid en fictie in de kunst van de jaren zestig in Nederland, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL Foto 20-40, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, NL Aktie, werkelijkheid en fictie in de kunst van de jaren zestig in Nederland, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL 1978 Fotografie in Nederland, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1977 Foto’s voor de Stad, Amsterdam’s Historical Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1973 5 Masters of European Photography, The Photographer's Gallery, London, UK Groepsfoto (GKf), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 1971 De Vrouw, Anwerp, BE 1967 The Cameras as Witness (expo’67), Montreal, CA 1960 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL (Photographs of the museums own collection) 1958 Foto’s GKf, Prentenkabinet Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Leiden, NL 1957/58 Fotografie als uitdrukkingsmiddel (travelling exhibition), Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, NL 1955 The Family of Man, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, USA 1954/55 Subjective Fotografie 2, Staatliche Schule für Kunst und Handwerk, Saarbrücken, DU 1953 Post-war European Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, USA Nederlandse Fotografie 1953, Kunstzaken, Maastricht, NL Bibiothèque nationale, Paris Collections Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL Collection of La Salle National Bank, Chicago, USA Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, Den Haag, NL Modern Art Museum, Kawasaki, JP The Museum of Modern Art, New York, US Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, FR Prentenkabinet, Universiteit Leiden, Leiden, NL Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL Fotomuseum Den Haag, NL Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, NL Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, NL Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, NL AMC Collection, NL The Art Institue of Chicago, Chicago, USA Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, ES