Photography collection

Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale) is among the art museums which boast their own photography collection. The collection currently comprises approximately 90,000 objects, accompanied by a specialist library with more than 8,000 volumes.

The museum began exhibiting international fine-art photography in the 1970s before founding its own collection in 1986 following the bequest of photographer Hans Finsler’s works.

Finsler ran the photography classes at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle from 1927 to 1932. He is one of the most important representatives of the Neues Sehen, or “New Vision” avant-garde photography movement of the interwar period. This created a focal point for the museum’s collections and exhibitions to which it is constantly committed. Among other things, the estate of Finsler’s pupil and assistant Gerda Leo was acquired, as was almost the entire estate of Heinrich Koch, also one of Finsler’s pupils and his successor at Burg Giebichenstein.

Another focus is on East German and Eastern European photography since 1945; no other art museum has comparable holdings in this field. These include two extensive sets of items on permanent loan to the collection: the image archive of the former Fotokino-Verlag Leipzig publishing house and the collection of the Gesellschaft für Fotografie, a photography association which was part of the Cultural Association of the GDR. Both of these had been international from the start in terms of their collections, publications and exhibitions.

Floris M. Neusüss, the founder of Fotoforum Kassel, presented the forum’s study collection to the museum, a significant addition to the collection in the form of West German and international photography from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Comparable collections are only found in Stuttgart and Winterthur.

Photography collection at museum-digital