Werner Mantz: The Perfect Eye is a big and the first ever retrospective of Werner Mantz (1901, Cologne - 1983, Maastricht) and his work.

>

Artist Portrait: Werner Mantz

Discover why Werner Mantz had the perfect eye. 

Werner Mantz, Canarische Eilanden, 1931. Waarschijnlijk gefotografeerd door Karl Mergenbaum. Collectie Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam

From 25 September 2022 to 26 February 2023, the Bonnefanten in Maastricht is presenting the first retrospective ever by the illustrious photographer Werner Mantz (1901, Cologne-1983, Maastricht); 40 years after his death. Mantz is regarded worldwide as one of the most important architectural photographers of the Neues Bauen movement. But this is just part of his multifaceted oeuvre.


Werner Mantz, Canary Islands, 1931. Probably photographed by Karl Mergenbaum. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

Werner Mantz, Café Wien am Ring, Cologne (D/GER), 1929. Architect: Ernst Sagebiel. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

Werner Mantz, Siedlung Kalkerfeld (Housing estate in Kalkerfeld), Keulen (D/GER), 1928. Galerie Schürmann & Kicken portfolio, 1977. ©Collectie Bonnefanten

To date, his work has attracted great attention locally, regionally and internationally, but oddly enough not in the Netherlands, at least not outside Limburg. In The Perfect Eye, the Bonnefanten gives conclusive evidence for why Mantz’s oeuvre also belongs in the canon of Dutch photography. He occupies a unique position in history, due to his visual idiom, use of natural lighting and craftsmanship – Mantz had the perfect eye.


Werner Mantz, Werner Mantz, Siedlung Kalkerfeld (Housing estate in Kalkerfeld), Keulen (D/GER), 1928. Galerie Schürmann & Kicken portfolio, 1977. ©Collectie Bonnefanten

“Mantz has been called the missing link in the evolution of photography in the 1920’s. His work bridged the gap between the artistic avant-garde of his day and a purely artisanal, functional photography practice.”

Frits Gierstberg, guest curator of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam

Werner Mantz, Villa ‘Hugo Wolff’, Gyrofstrasse, Keulen-Lindenthal, Keulen (D/GER), 1932. Architect: Ulrich Pohl. ©Werner Mantz/Museum Ludwig

In his work and (working) life, the person and photographer Werner Mantz gives recognition to the commonplace. The compilation of the exhibition The Perfect Eye in the Bonnefanten brings everything together in a retrospective of around 300 (vintage) photos. Three narratives are thus permanently interwoven: his life and autonomous work, his architectural photography and his portrait photography. And at the same time, various historical and art-historical periods in Cologne, Central Limburg and South Limburg are linked together.

Werner Mantz, Villa 'Hugo Wolff', Gyrofstrasse, Cologne-Lindenthal, Cologne (D/GER), 1932. Architect: Ulrich Pohl. ©Werner Mantz/Museum Ludwig

Werner Mantz, Stairwell Ursuline Lyceum (Stairwell of the Ursuline Lyceum), Cologne (D/GER), 1928. Architects: Noven & Willach. Portfolio: Galerie Schürmann & Kicken, 1977. ©Collection Bonnefanten

Werner Mantz, 'Glaspaleis' Modehuis Schunck, (‘Glass Palae’, Schunck fashion house and department store), Heerlen (NL), 1936. Architect: Frits Peutz. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

Nowadays, it is clear that the quality of Mantz’s photography is a combination of three characteristics: his craftsmanship, his understanding of the nature of his subjects and his great creative ability to develop a personal and coherent visual idiom within the often tight parameters of a commission. Furthermore, Mantz is a great source of inspiration to photographers today.

Werner Mantz, 'Glaspaleis' Modehuis Schunck, ('Glass Palae', Schunck fashion house and department store), Heerlen (NL), 1936. Architect: Frits Peutz. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

Werner Mantz, Haus der Kölnischen Zeitung, Pressa (House of the Kölnische Zeitung, Pressa), Cologne (D/GER), 1928. Architects: Wilhelm Riphahn and Caspar Maria Grod. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

Discover collection

Werner Mantz: The Perfect Eye

Werner Mantz: The Perfect Eye is a big and the first ever retrospective of Werner Mantz (1901, Cologne - 1983, Maastricht) and his work.

In collections all over the world 

Both during his life and after his death, Mantz’s work has been shown fairly regularly in group and solo exhibitions. His work is represented in the collections of more than 30 museums around the world, spread over four continents, including the Bonnefanten, the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, US), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, US), the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal, Canada), the Tate (London, UK), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan). Presentations of his work have been restricted to his German period, or to thematic parts of his extensive oeuvre, and his work has never been exhibited and published cohesively and in its entirety. To date, that is. 

Mantz’s photography is also very popular with collectors, and his work nearly always appears at the international art fair Paris Photo. 

The exhibition has been realised in collaboration with the Nederlands Fotomuseum and the Werner Mantz Foundation. Special thanks go to the lenders Museum Ludwig and Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne. 

Publication Werner Mantz–The Perfect Eye and exclusive photo print 

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive publication, entitled Werner Mantz-The Perfect Eye, published by Hannibal Books in collaboration with the Werner Mantz Foundation. It includes texts by Frits Gierstberg, Stijn Huijts, Clément Mantz, Charlotte Mantz and Huub Smeets. The book is available in Dutch, German and English versions from the Bonnefanten museum shop and from online bookshops. Price: € 50 (EN-NL en EN-DE) ISBN: 978 94 6436 673 0. 

For the occasion of the exhibition, an exclusive photo print will be available in a limited edition, signed by the Mantz heirs. In combination with the book, the photo print costs € 750 and is available only from the Bonnefanten museum shop, through Hannibal Books and through the Werner Mantz Foundation. It is a unique opportunity for collectors. 

Exhibition booklet

Want to learn more about the photography of Werner Mantz? Read about it in the exhibition booklet.

READ MORE

Header image: Werner Mantz, Portrait of a woman, 1935. ©Werner Mantz/Nederlands Fotomuseum

What’s on

Beating Around the Bush #7: False Flat

23.01.2022 08.01.2023

Beating Around the Bush #7: False Flat

With four solo presentations by: Hadassah Emmerich, Fons Haagmans, Rik Meijers and Marleen Rothaus. ...

Raul Marroquin

24.04.2022 26.03.2023

Raul Marroquin

Raul Marroquin (1948, Bogotá) is a spider in the web of Maastricht, which, in the 1970s, ...

Restoring Ferdi

20.04.2022 04.06.2023

Restoring Ferdi

Follow the restoration process of Ferdi's Hortisculptures in Bonnefanten. Why? Keep reading!