Photos by Robert Capa and Eva Besnyö in the renovated Jewish Historical Museum  23 February 2007

23 February to 20 May 2007

To mark the opening of the completely renovated Jewish Historical Museum on 23 February, the museum presents a retrospective exhibition of work by the legendary war photographer Robert Capa on the ground floor of the New Synagogue. In addition, a presentation of previously unknown and unpublished photos by Eva Besnyö can also be seen in the new Print Room. Capa and Besnyö, two major photographic innovators, both of Hungarian Jewish descent, lived as children on the same street in Budapest and remained friends for life. This is the first time that their photos are presented simultaneously.

Robert Capa. Retrospective
This exhibition offers a survey of the work of Robert Capa (1913-1954), a founder of modern photojournalism. His photos of the Spanish Civil War and D-Day are etched in everyone's memory and have shaped our image of twentieth-century history. Capa was commissioned by leading illustrated magazines to cover all the major conflicts of his day. In 1938 Britain's Picture Post acclaimed him 'the greatest war photographer in the world'. As well as photographing frontline fighting, Capa also had an unparalleled eye for the destructive effect of war on the lives of ordinary people. He regarded his photos as a weapon in the struggle against injustice and oppression. As he remarked, 'The war photographer's most fervent wish is for unemployment.'

The exhibition presents two previously unpublished reportages that Capa made in the Netherlands: one showing photos taken in 1945 of a family in Amsterdam made destitute by the war, and one featuring photos of the Dutch royal family taken in 1951. In addition the museum presents the documentary Robert Capa: In Love and War (2003, Anne Makepeace) and an interview with Eva Besnyö about Robert Capa. Magnum Photos compiled the exhibition.

Eva Besnyö. Unknown Photos
Work 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 Yet after her death many still unknown and previously unpublished photos were discovered in her archive.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 Jewish Historical Museum exhibition presents a selection of these photos, underscoring Eva Besnyö's reputation as one of the country's greatest photographers. The show includes work from her early years in Hungary, portraits made in the 1930s in Berlin and Amsterdam, photos of postwar reconstruction in the Netherlands and a series of portraits made in the 1940s and 50s of Dutch artists, writers and actors (including Mary Dresselhuys, Leo Vroman and Otto Treumann). The show also includes the first presentation of colour photos by Besnyö. The exhibition was compiled jointly the Maria Austria Institute (MAI) and Uitgeverij Voetnoot, publishers of the accompanying catalogue, Eva Besnyö.

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