The Rijksmuseum houses a unique – in the Netherlands – collection of close to 140,000 photographs providing insight into the development of the medium from its introduction in 1839 to the present. The museum aims to acquire quality photographs from both the Netherlands and abroad representing every relevant period, style and technique.
The collection focuses on foreign photography, with highlights including Man Ray’s portrait of Peggy Guggenheim and László Moholy-Nagy’s View from Pont Transbordeur. Moreover, the Rijksmuseum owns the only known photograph of the temple ruins in Baalbek shot by the famous French photographer Gustave Le Gray, as well as several original photographs by Jacques-Henri Lartigue. Particularly rare is a group of the earliest colour photographs in a process invented by the Lumière brothers, whose innovation took the world by storm as of 1907. From the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum boasts the entire oeuvre of the pioneering Dutch photographer Edouard Isaac Asser, autograph enlargements by George Hendrik Breitner, and work by Sanne Sannes.