This autumn, get acquainted with Cas Oorthuys – photographer, optimist, world traveller and family man with an oeuvre equal to that of such internationally known names as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Werner Bischof. On 15 September, the long-awaited retrospective entitled This is Cas | Vintage photography by Cas Oorthuys will open at the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
Cas Oorthuys (1908-1975) spent his entire life, practically without interruption, taking pictures - and lots of them. He never left home without a camera - usually with two or three and sometimes more of them around his neck. By the time he died, he had accumulated an archive of almost half a million photographs. Like the 17th-century landscape painters who determined the look of the Netherlands for centuries afterward, Cas Oorthuys did this with photography: with wind, water, imposing cloud formations, and an open uncluttered landscape.
Cas Oorthuys did not shy away from anything. Risking his own life, he continued secretly taking pictures during the Second World War. His portrait of a starving woman with a piece of bread became an icon of the Dutch famine winter of 1944/1945. Afterward, his camera recorded Dutch post-war reconstruction in which he so perfectly captured the atmosphere of optimism and hard work. Light, air and space returned to the Netherlands as reflected in his photography . He also spent this period travelling all over the world. For many people in the Netherlands, his photographs were their first introduction to cities in other countries.
His home was Amsterdam, the city where he lived with his family on the River Amstel. The name ‘Cas Oorthuys’ stood for a well-oiled family business in which photography was simply a part of family life. His wife Lydia maintained the archive of almost a half million photographs, and his son Frank played with his little toy boats in the water of the rinsing tanks. This exhibition - This is Cas - provides a unique peek into the ins and outs of the Oorthuys business.
Exhibition: This is Cas
The Nederlands Fotomuseum maintains an archive of around half a million photographs, including thousands of vintage prints. It was from these vintage prints that a selection was made for the exhibition This is Cas.
Joris Lutz is one of the voices to be heard on the audio guide for this exhibition, and various guided tours, workshops and lectures based on certain themes will be held. A complete schedule of these activities is available at our activities & workshops page. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a publication entitled Cas Oorthuys |Contacts.
Captions for Cas
The Nederlands Fotomuseum is appealing to the Dutch public for help in identifying the contents of photographs taken by Cas Oorthuys, among the most influential of all 20th-century Dutch photographers. Anyone is able to study the photos in the Oorthuys archive online and provide information on the contents. Read more
Main Sponsor Corporate partner collection
Funding sources and subsidies
VSBfonds, Stichting dr. Hendrik Muller's Vaderlandsch Fonds, G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting, Stichting Swart-van Essen, Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot, Elise Mathilde Fonds, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht
Rabobank Rotterdam and others who wish to remain anonymous .
With thanks to