Eva Besnyö  23 February until 20 May 2007

Unknown Photos

John Fernhout, Eva Besnyö in Bergen at Charley Toorop's place, 1933/1934, © MAIWork by Eva Besnyö (1910-2003) has featured in countless publications and exhibitions. Yet after her death many still unknown and previously unpublished photos were discovered in her archive. This exhibition presents a selection of these photos, underscoring Eva Besnyö's reputation as one of the greatest photographers in the Netherlands. The show includes portraits of women taken in the 1930s, photos of postwar reconstruction in the Netherlands and a series of portraits made in the 1940s and 50s of artists, writers and actors (including Mary Dresselhuys, Leo Vroman and Otto Treumann). Compiled jointly with Maria Austria Instituut (MAI) and Uitgeverij Voetnoot, publishers of an accompanying catalogue.

Capa and Besnyö: Neighbours in Budapest
Robert Capa and Eva Besnyö, two major innovators of photography and both originally Hungarian Jews, were good friends and are presented here together for the first time in a joint exhibition. As children they lived on the same street in Budapest. Later, in 1931, they met again in Berlin. Besnyö had arrived there at the age of eighteen as a burgeoning photographer, attracted by the avant-garde artistic climate of the German capital. In Berlin she adopted the New Objectivity style, the new art movement that had transformed photography into an autonomous medium. Capa arrived in 1931, as a political refugee fleeing Miklós Horthy's dictatorial regime in Hungary. On Besnyö's advice, he took up photography and was introduced by her to the Dephot press photography agency. This was the start of a brilliant career in photo journalism.
Although the two former neighbourhood children went their separate ways as photographers, they remained firm friends throughout their lives. They regularly met, even after Besnyö had moved to the Netherlands. Both are among the leading photographers to emerge from Hungary, a country that has produced many internationally renowned photographers.