Artist: Aart Klein (1909-2001)
Silver gelatin print, size 24x36cm, stamped verso ‘Foto Copyright Aart Klein, Amsteldijk 7, Amsterdam’, handwritten archive number 625-20.
Aart Klein (born in Amsterdam in 1909) actually becomes a photographer by accident. As an employee at the photo press agency Polygoon, from 1930 he was responsible for the daily planning for the photographers. Without knowledge of photography, one day he gets a large format photo camera pressed into his hands by the director. Eventually he becomes the most important photographer of the agency.
During the German invasion in May 1940, he was taken prisoner of war at the Grebbeberg. After his release Klein works briefly with a press photographer in The Hague, but when the professional organization of which he is a member joins the German Culture Chamber, he resigns. After a short period as a forced laborer in Germany, he goes into hiding and ends up in the resistance. At Particam (Partizanen Camera) he records, together with, among others, Maria Austria, Lood van Bennekom, Paul Huf and others during the occupation.
After the liberation, Particam will continue to exist as a partnership with photographers Henk Jonker, Maria Austria, Wim Zilver Rupe and Aart Klein. The agency gets a monopoly in the field of theater photography. Aart Klein is also one of the initiators of the foundation of the Dutch Association of Photojournalists (NVF) in 1945. After a conflict, Aart Klein leaves Particam in 1956 and continues as an independent corporate photographer. He also became a member of the GKf in that year, and together with Ad Windig forms the board of that association.
Aart Klein was distinguished in 1982 with the Capi Lux Alblas Prize, and 1996 with the Oeuvre Prize Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts, Design and Architecture.
Aart Klein’s work has been included in decollections of the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the National Visual Arts, Museum Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Print Room University of Leiden, Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Bibliothèque National (Paris).
Literature: this photo has been used on the cover of ‘Aart fotograaf Klein’, published by Reflex, Utrecht, 1986.