Ed van der Elsken through the eyes of Jan de Bont

Ed van der Elsken. Vali Myers, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, 1951. Gift from Jan and Trish de Bont through the King Baudouin Foundation, United States, 2017. Nederlands Fotomuseum/ ©Ed van der Elsken
Edition 22 March 2018

From 8 March the Rijksmuseum will exhibit 26 original prints by photographer Ed van der Elsken, marking the donation by film director Jan de Bont and his wife Trish Reeves de Bont of their collection to the museum. ‘Ed van der Elsken Through the Eyes of Jan de Bont’ will include a selection of these photographs alongside previously unseen photographs by Van der Elsken from the Rijksmuseum collection. The accompanying texts by Jan de Bont, the guest curator for this presentation, shed new light on Van der Elsken’s images and how they inspired De Bont.

Jan de Bont: Ed van der Elsken is without doubt one of the best photographers of his time. He touches people’s souls, and always tells a story that we all can understand. It means a great deal to us that we can share Ed van der Elsken’s work. Film director and cinematographer Jan de Bont – famous for his work on films such as Turkish Delight, Basic Instinct, Speed and Twister – is an avid collector of photographs. He and his wife Trisha started collecting in the mid- 1970s, only buying work by photographers with whom they felt a strong connection.

The couple always collected multiple works from photographers, including Van der Elsken. In 2017 they donated fourteen prints to the Rijksmuseum, including early prints as well as images from his famous books Love on the Left Bank (1956), Sweet life (1966) and_ Amsterdam!_ (1979). Ed van der Elsken Through the Eyes of Jan de Bont includes selected works from this donated collection, alongside other recent gifts and photographs from the Rijksmuseum collection.

The Rijksmuseum exhibition ‘Ed van der Elsken Through the Eyes of Jan de Bont’ will run from 8 March to 3 June 2018.