The acquisition of the important photo collections of Rolf Mayer and Rolf H. Krauss in 1989 led to the founding of a separate photography department in the Staatsgalerie. Today the collection includes more than 2.000 top-class artistic photographic works from the early days of the medium to the present day. There is also a stock of around 10.000 historical reproduction photographs from the Royal Prints and Drawings Cabinet.
Since February 2022, "THE GÄLLERY" has offered photography an exclusive stage in the Barthflügel of the old Staatsgalerie. Through changing exhibitions with works from the collection and presentations by cooperation partners, the Staatsgalerie makes its intensive engagement with the medium of photography visible from afar.
Early days of photography until 1900
William Henry Fox Talbot is the inventor of the negative process that underlies most photographs before the digital age. His shot "The Fruit Sellers" is a staged scene in the spirit of genre painting.
However, the main task of photography in the 19th century is the portrait. Our collection also contains masterpieces of portrait photography, for example by David Octavius Hill, Julia Margret Cameron or Nadar.
Classic Modern Art
In the 1920s, photography caught up with the avant-garde of contemporary art. Unusual perspectives with the handy Leica camera and experimental processes such as the photogram lead to a decidedly modern visual language. Through acquisitions from the collections of Rolf Mayer (1989) and Dietmar Siegert (2022), the Staatsgalerie has outstanding works of Bauhaus photography, New Vision, New Objectivity and Surrealism, for example by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Aenne Biermann, Germaine Krull and Man Ray.
Contemporary photography since 1960
With the Rolf H. Krauss Collection, the Staatsgalerie has an extraordinarily wide range of conceptual photography from the 1960s to 1980s. Contemporary photography now plays a central role in expanding the collection. Important work complexes by Andreas Gursky, Wolfgang Tillmans, Barbara Probst, Annette Kelm and Ricarda Roggan are examples of the high quality and diversity of contemporary photographic art at the Staatsgalerie.