Renowned Tintern photographer donates 2,000 photos to National Museum Wales

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Arts

MORE than 2,000 images taken by Tintern-based photographer David Hurn have been donated to National Museum Wales in Cardiff.

The Magnum documentary photographer has gifted approximately 1,500 of his own photographs and approximately 700 photographs from his private collection which he has compiled throughout the course of his 60-year career. 

A selection of works from the Welsh photographer’s private collection will be on display for the first time at National Museum Cardiff from 30th September in ‘Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection of Photography.’

Hurn has amassed his private collection over the past six decades, predominantly through swapping works with fellow photographers, including many of his Magnum colleagues. In doing so he has assembled a significant and diverse collection that includes leading 20th and 21st century photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Martine Franck, Bruce Davidson and Martin Parr, through to emerging photographers such as Bieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann and Diana Markosian.

Over the last two years, Hurn has been selecting photographs from his own archive to create a definitive edit of his life’s work. The collection includes work made in Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Arizona, California and New York, but it is his carefully observed photographs of his home country of Wales that are the focus of the collection.

The donation means National Museum Wales is now the institution with the largest holdings of Hurn’s work worldwide.

David Hurn said: “My earliest visual/cultural memories are visiting the museum when I must have been four or five. I remember the naughty statue - Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ - and cases full of stuff that people had donated. Well now I have the chance to repay, something of mine will be there forever, I feel very privileged.”

David Anderson, director of National Museum Wales added: “This exceptional donation by David Hurn will raise the profile of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales as an important centre for photography in the UK. We know that photography appeals to our visitors and the exhibition in September launches the Museum’s first ever permanent gallery dedicated to photography.

“We are extremely grateful to David Hurn for this generous gift, which will drive this important and much needed photography programme for Amgueddfa Cymru, benefiting the people of Wales and those further afield.”

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