Over those two decades, Huis Marseille has acquired about 750 works of contemporary photography, including work by many internationally renowned photographers such as Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Andres Serrano, Deana Lawson, Viviane Sassen and Jean-Luc Mylayne. The collection also reserves plenty of room for less well-established names; for instance, recent acquisitions include photographs by Jamie Hawkesworth and Julie Greve, work created at the interface between fashion and art.
The origins of Huis Marseille’s photo collection lies in the dowry that the museum received at its inauguration in 1999: fifty photographs from the private collection of the De Pont family. They included work by such leading photographers as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth. These monumental works of representatives of the Düsseldorfer Schule set the tone for a contemporary collection that was closely linked to developments in (conceptual) art, and they launched an exhibition programme that was curated in collaboration with living photographers. Over the following fifteen years, these starting points were formulated in more detail. Besides Dutch photography – with the prominent photographer Jacqueline Hassink as a major representative – Japanese and South African photography became two new spearheads in the collection. This focus is revealed in the collection by work from Naoya Hatakeyama and Yuki Onodera on the one hand and David Goldblatt and Zanele Muholi on the other. The European artists represented include leading names such as Luc Delahaye and Valérie Belin.
For every name that appears in the Huis Marseille collection, one might cite another that does not. The collection does not attempt, however, to be an accurate representation of contemporary photographic history; rather, it reflects the personal choices of an individualistic, privately funded museum. This has resulted in collaborations with a wide variety of photographers whose work is synonymous with interesting contemporary developments in art photography. The museum’s collection and its exhibitions are intrinsically linked. A new acquisition often leads to collaboration with the photographer and ultimately to an exhibition, and by the same token, an exhibition will usually lead to new acquisitions for the collection. Pictures from Another Wall devotes attention to a number of important exhibitions that Huis Marseille has held over the last five years, including work by Andres Serrano ‒ from the exhibition Revealing Reality (2017); Dana Lixenberg ‒ taken from her masterwork Imperial Courts 1993‒2015 (2015); Scarlett Hooft Graafland ‒ from the exhibitions Soft Horizons (2011) and Shores Like You (2016); Eddo Hartmann ‒ from Setting the Stage: Pyongyang, North Korea (2017); and the most recent important acquisitions of work by Deana Lawson, to whom Huis Marseille devoted the first-ever large solo European exhibition in 2019.
Almost all the museum’s collected works can be found in its online catalogue in the form of low-resolution images and summary descriptions.
The H+F Collection
Huis Marseille also has 120 photographs and films on loan from the H+F Collection of the private collector Han Nefkens. These can be seen at www.hfcollection.org.