Event: single

Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock) from the South, (c) Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam

View into the exbhition, Jewish Museum Munich, photos: Franz Kimmel

View into the exbhition, Jewish Museum Munich, photos: Franz Kimmel

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Color!

September 30, 2009 through January 24, 2010

In 1926 and 1931 the grain dealer Arie Speelman (1880-1964) and his wife Anne Christine Speelman-van Vliet (1886-1967) took two trips to Palestine.

At that time, the country was part of the British Mandate created after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The modernization of the area – which had begun under Ottoman rule – continued in this period, and a modest influx of tourists began. The Speelmans were among these early visitors. Like many tourists of their day, they saw Palestine mainly as the land of the Bible. Scenic pictures of the Holy Land were in great demand, and the American Colony, a Christian community in Jerusalem, catered for this market.
It was in the shop run by the American Colony Photo Department, near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, that the Speelmans bought more than one thousand hand-tinted lantern slides. Back in the Netherlands, Arie Speelman organized ‘Palestine evenings’, where he used a magic lantern to project these slides onto a white sheet. These events were highly evangelical in nature, a fact which is reflected in the choice of photos. Nevertheless, these images also have a broader cultural significance: they present a fascinating image of the Middle East in the early twentieth century and illustrate an unusual photographic technique.
This exhibition showcases about seventy photos from this exceptional collection, which came into the possession of the Jewish Historical Museum in 1991. The photos show us Jerusalem, rural life, views of towns and villages, and the diverse ethnic groups in the area. Both literally and figuratively, they present a coloured image of Palestine between 1898 and 1931.

The exhibition was curated by Peter Buijs and Anton Kras, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam.

The exhibition marks the publication of the book "In the Footsteps of Abraham. The Holy Land in Hand-Painted Photographs" (New York, Woodstock and London:Overlook Duckworth, 2008) by Richard Hardiman and Helen Speelman.

Curators: Peter Buijs and Anton Kras