Ed van der Elsken

Dutch, 1925–1990

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Biography

One of the preeminent documentary photographers of the 20th century, Ed van der Elsken established his craft and career on photographing people. He began taking pictures of disenchanted youth in postwar Europe and continued to capture people he encountered on the streets of Paris and Amsterdam and throughout his travels in Asia and Africa. With his direct, raw style and grainy snapshot aesthetic, van der Elsken attempted to capture the overall character and mood of his subjects; he was less concerned with formal techniques and composition. Van der Elsken rose to worldwide fame with the first of his many books of photographs, Love on the Left Bank (1954), for which he followed a bohemian woman around Paris, depicting her life in the streets, bars, cafes, and clubs.

Career Highlights
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Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze
Fair
Included in a major biennial
documenta