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Helena van der Kraan (1940-2020, continued)

Schermafbeelding 2020-11-23 om 09.51.55

A few months ago i wrote a short ” IN MEMORIAM” on the occasion of Helena van der Kraan’s passing away on her birthday at the age of 80 years,Bbut what i did not mention was that there was a very nice retropective on her ” Bears ” series at the Fotomuseum Den Haag, only one problem……Covid 19 made it for us almost possible to visit, but now that the museums can be visited again, we went to the Fotomuseum, Gem and Kunstmuseum to get an artistic “update” including the Bear series retrospective by Helena van der Kraan.

helena beren a

helena beren b

Personally i love her  almost classic  way of photography, Linda was less charmed, but both we agreed that the combination of GEM and Fotomuseum ( also a Wegman exhibition) was time very well spend. Another reason to write this short blog is that i found a signed copy of the 1986 book published by van Beveren/Haags Gemeentemuseum and perhaps this shows best why i think that Helena will be remembered as one of our great photographers. Every photo is “classic” and timeless and where the photographs of her compatriot Saudek are getting more and more dated, the photographs of Helena grow on you and ripen and gain in quality by the year.

The exhibition shoudl have been closed on the 21tgh of UAgust , but because programs are continued at many of the museums the Helena van der Kraan Bear series is still to be viewed at the Fotomuseum. I do not know how long it still will be there, but i urge you to go when you have a chance.

Helena van der Kraan publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Helena van der Kraan (1940-2020)

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-21 om 13.49.06

A few days ago i learned that Helena van der Kraan had died at the age of 80.

I have encountered Helena a number of times at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag where she had become friends with many of its staff. At many occasions these friendships grew into series of portraits and i remember at one time she made photographs of all the staff to be published in a little book which was presented to Theo van Velzen at his leaving the museum. A very kind woman she was and she will be surely remembered for her great photographs she made during her entire career.


On June 14th, on her 80th birthday, former participant and photographer Helena van der Kraan passed away. Born in Prague in 1940, she came to the Netherlands shortly after the uprising in former Czechoslovakya in 1968, for a two year residency at what was then known as ‘ateliers ’63’. There she met sculptor Axel van der Kraan, with whom she collaborated for many years on large-scale, wooden sculptures, until Helena’s artistic practice focussed more and more on photography. She is known for her restrained and tender portraits of artist friends. Her work is represented in the collections of the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen. In Fotomuseum The Hague, her series of teddybear photographs is on view until November 1st, 2020.

https://www.fotomuseumdenhaag.nl/nl/tentoonstellingen/beer-teddy