Andy Warhol 1975, 7,5 x 9,5 cm (3 x 3 3/4 inch). Image © Oliviero Toscani / WestLicht Collection.
Months after the iconic Polaroid Collection was dismantled and sold at auction, the WestLicht Museum of Photography has announced that it has purchased 4400 artworks that represented the International Polaroid Collection.
The collection, which contained images shot by more than 800 artists, was housed at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne. It had been created by Polaroid from 1972 to 1990. The collection is made of 1400 large format Polaroids (20x24 inch). "These images were taken with a special custom made camera and film material not available on the market," says the museum. "Czech photographer Jan Hnizdo, chief operator of Polaroid, travelled to selected photographers and artists with this camera. Conceptual art such as collages, opulent arrangements and trendy staging reflect the zeitgeist of the 70s and 80s. Next to the big names, there are also many works of outstanding photographers unknown on the art market until now."
The collection contains works by Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Rauschenberg, William Wegman, Stephen Shore, Sally Mann, David Levinthal and Andy Warhol among many others.
"I am both happy and proud that it was possible to keep the collection intact in its entirety and make it finally accessible," says Peter Coeln of WestLicht.
The acquisition is the result of a collaboration between WestLicht and Impossible, the company that brought to the market new Polaroid films in 2010. When Polaroid went bankrupt in late 2009, liquidators started selling off the company's assets - such as the US-based Polaroid Collection.
According to WestLicht Museum and Impossible, the "spectacular acquisition at the last moment secures the continued existence of this historic collection and presents it to a broad public for the first time."
A selection of the 4400 images contained in the International Polaroid Collection will go on show from 17 June, the museum has announced.
Impossible has also moved forward to start building on the collection by inviting contemporary artists "to join this ongoing project by supplying them with the new generation of Impossible instant films," says Florian Kaps, founder of Impossible.
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