Vienna exhibits rare polaroid photos by Warhol

VIENNA: A collection of polaroid pictures taken by iconic artists such as Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams was put on exhibit Friday at a Vienna museum after being rescued at the last minute from an auction.

The WestLicht Museum, which is showing the photographs, managed to take the European part of the Polaroid Collections of Europe & the USA that was to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York to pay off its bankrupt owner’s debts.

The Polaroid Corporation, famous for its instant film cameras, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after six decades of doing business and selling over 300 million units worldwide.

The WestLicht exhibit shows a selection of the collection’s 4,400 pieces by 800 artists including Warhol, Adams, Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe.

The pictures were taken in 1970-1990 after former Polaroid chief operator and Czech photographer Jan Hnizdo offered the unique cameras to the artists for their use.

The collection was originally located in the archives of Switzerland’s Elysee Lausanne Museum but was pulled out for liquidation purposes.

“At the last minute, I was able to save this collection from being scattered after being auctioned,” WestLicht curator Peter Coeln, who also heads the German camera-maker Leica, told AFP.

The museum said that artists, museums and photo aficionados protested against the sale of the collection. The American part of the collection was already auctioned by the London-based auctioneer Sotheby’s in 2010.

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