When Anne Wilkes Tucker was named “America’s Best Curator” by Time Magazine in 2001, that was before she helped the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2002 and 2004 to acquire the Manfred Heiting Collection, one of the finest photography collections still in private hands at that time. Amsterdam (now California)-based collector Manfred Heiting set out to obtain the finest examples available of every major photographer’s work and, over a period of 30 years, he amassed an encyclopedic collection of approximately 4,000 images.
Now, the MFAH has acquired Heiting’s photography-based books and archive collection, comprised of some 25,000 photography books and ephemera created in dozens of countries from the dawn of photography through the late 20th century. The collection is recognized as one of the most important photographic resources in the world. Jon Evans, director of the MFAH Hirsch Library expressed, “This collection will provide an unparalleled opportunity for scholars—not only in photography, but in other cultural and historical disciplines.”
“Books have always been part of my professional life—I was trained as a typographer and started my career at a renowned printer in Germany—and photography is my passion,” said Heiting. “Over the last decade I came to admire the MFAH and its high collecting standards and care for photography and books. I am blessed and honored that my life’s work in photography of nearly 50 years has a home here.”
Heiting has published, written, and edited a number of books himself, including the Taschen publications on Man Ray, Edward Weston, and Helmut Newton. Along with Tucker, he organized the MFAH’s 2011 exhibition Helmut Newton: White Women, Sleepless Nights, Big Nudes.
(Here’s a different sort of book lover—there seems to be a Russian photographer/blogger identified as “Kogleron” on YouTube, where he/she posts videos of hands turning the pages of art photography books, set to snappy jazz tunes. Below is “Man Ray, Manfred Heiting,” one of the Taschen publications mentioned above.) Enjoy: