We are the DDB: Die Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim

The Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim is an internationally operating museum complex, an outstanding exhibition location and an established research centre. Its origins date back to the 18th century, when the electors Carl Philipp and Carl Theodor were elected. The Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen house a variety of collections – from Ancient Egypt and Classical Antiquity to Archaeology, World Cultures and Natural History as well as Art and Cultural History to Photography. The collections and changing special exhibitions are presented in four locations. 

-	Das Museum Zeughaus, Stammhaus der Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen © rem, Foto: Jean Christen
The Museum Zeughaus, home of the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen © rem, photo: Jean Christen

The “Basic Archive” by Robert Häusser – A Photographic Treasure of Classical Modernism

The Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen look after the estate of the internationally renowned photographer and first German Hasselblad award winner Robert Häusser (born 1924, Stuttgart – d. 2013, Mannheim). Häusser is considered a pioneer of contemporary photography and is one of the main representatives of classical modernism. His artistic handwriting was style-forming for German photography and subsequent generations of photographers.

Treppe, 1960er Jahre, Robert Häusser – Robert-Häusser-Archiv/Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung, Mannheim
Staircase, 1960s, Robert Häusser – Robert-Häusser-Archiv/Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung (Robert Häusser archive/Curt Engelhorn foundation), Mannheim (All rights reserved - Free access)

While his freelance works are preserved in the so-called “artistic oeuvre”, the extensive “basic archive”, which was created over decades, includes his commissioned works. The latter mainly contains photographs from industry, architecture and crafts as well as photojournalistic reports from Europe, Asia, North and South America. In doing so, his commissioned work goes far beyond mere factual photography and, unlike mere documentation, makes it possible to experience a “more reality”. For Häusser, photography was an artistic medium in which content and form are mutually dependent. His images do not speculate on superficial effects and rapid consumption, but demand a contemplative approach from the viewer. 

Rhein-Hafen, Mannheim, 1961, Robert Häusser – Robert-Häusser-Archiv/Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung, Mannheim (All rights reserved - Free access)

Since Robert Häusser never made a distinction between artistic works and commissioned works in terms of the quality of his recordings, it has always been an important collection concern since the takeover of the estate of Robert Häusser in 2001, to make the "basic archive" accessible to a broad public for scientific research.

The Reiss-Engelhorn-Musseen in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek