Erwin Olaf died on 20 September 2023, at the age of 64. He was a leading photographer for over four decades. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum was the recipient of his core collection of more than 500 of his works. His iconic image Hope Portrait 5 (2005) is now hanging in the Gallery of Honour next to Girl in a Blue Dress (1641) by Johannes Verspronck.

12x Erwin Olaf

This pairing echoes the 12x Erwin Olaf exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in 2013, which presented Olaf’s photographs in dialogue with Dutch paintings. Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Breitner and other Dutch artists had a great influence on his work.

For as long as I have been coming to the Rijksmuseum I have thought of this as one of the most remarkable paintings. It taught me that sometimes you need only the most minimal of resources to achieve powerful eloquence. By adding just a point of light in her eyes, Verspronck brought this girl to life. She is truly looking at us.

Erwin Olaf had this to say about Verspronck’s painting

Transfer of Olaf’s core collection

In 2018 the artist transferred nearly 500 prints, portfolios, videos, magazines, books and posters to the Rijksmuseum. The vast majority of these works comprised a gift, while some were acquired with the support of players of the Friends’ Lottery (VriendenLoterij).

Gallery of Honour 
28 September to 31 October 2023


Museumstraat 1
1071 XX Amsterdam


Wheelchair access
Guide dogs allowed
Lifts on every floor