Cover photo: Badminton, forehand game | Heinrich von der Becke Picture Archive in the Berlin Sports Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Heinrich von der Becke - "The Picasso with the Camera" - Berlin Sports Museum Exhibits Works of the Sports Photographer

Prof. Dr. Detlef Kuhlmann Introduces

The Berlin Sports Museum is currently hosting an exhibition documenting and honoring the works of arguably the most important sports photographer of his time: Heinrich von der Becke (1913 to 1997) is considered the “Picasso with a camera.”

The Berlin press photographer, who at the time worked for daily newspapers and sports magazines, but also for the National Olympic Committee for Germany and the German Sports Federation, among others, captured over 50 years of West Berlin contemporary and sports history in all its facets with his camera.

The man “with the cap”, who often used a ladder to take pictures, attended a total of 13 Olympic Summer and Winter Games up to 1976 and was present with his camera at countless other national and international sporting events.

Since the beginning of 2005, the Berlin Sports Museum has been able to use its depot and working rooms on an area of approx. 1,500 square meters in the House of Sports in the Olympic Park (on the grounds of the Olympic Park). At its new location, the museum preserves and administers Heinrich von der Becke’s complete picture archive with approx. 1.2 million negatives and around 65,000 black-and-white positives.

For the first time since 1988, sports photographs from his collection are now on public display.The motifs selected for this purpose relate primarily to the first 30 years of his career and are supplemented by the (traveling) exhibitions “ISTAF Moments – Pictorial Documents 70 Years of the ISTAF in Berlin” and “Honored! – Bearers of the Golden Ribbon of Sport”, which were also conceived by the Berlin Sports Museum:

“The Heinrich von der Becke exposition is a prelude to be followed by further presentations in the coming years,” says Martina Behrendt, the museum’s director, announcing her institution’s future museum work projects on the well-known sports photographer, who once served an apprenticeship with Max Schirner, the old master of sports photography in Berlin.

The exhibition will be on display until March 29, 2009, and is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. The opening of the exhibition also saw the inauguration of a new, generously furnished exhibition room, where original objects relating to the history of international running are on display, including memorabilia from several world-class runners, contemporary evidence of distance and time measurement together with sportswear long since discarded for running.

An international traveling exhibition “Keep on Running” on the history of marathon running is also one of the current attractions of the sports museum facility.

Prof. Dr. Detlef Kuhlmann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Weitere Beiträge