About This Image

Photographer's stamp on verso.

Willem van de Poll (1895-1970) grew up as a member of a well-to-do family in Amsterdam. His father wanted him to become a doctor, but he preferred to seek adventure first as a police inspector and soon after that as a photographer. After training as a photographer in Vienna, Van de Poll worked as a police and news photographer in that city. His first published press photo, of a major fire, appeared in the Berliner Tageblatt in around 1920. Wishing to travel the world taking photographs, Van de Poll became one of the first Dutch photojournalists to work extensively outside the Netherlands. A member of the generation of photojournalists who supplied both text and photographs, his work was distributed by international press agencies Associated Press and Black Star. His photo-reportages appeared regularly both inside and outside the Netherlands in magazines like Spiegel, Panorama and the famous Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung.

But Willem van de Poll was not born for the world of ‘hard news’. The high-spirited, cigar-smoking photographer was happiest producing atmospheric impressions of places that were then still relatively unknown: the rugged landscapes of Iceland and Norway, romantic Madeira and the mysterious Middle East. At the same time, Van de Poll acquired experience of other forms of photography. During the 1930s he reported on Paris fashions for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and took photographs for use in advertising by KLM, Unilever and Verkade.

Van de Poll’s career took an expected new turn when he was appointed in 1944 to head the photographic service of the Forces of the Interior (formed to unite the various armed resistance organisations opposing the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands). He became staff photographer to the commander-in-chief of the Interior Forces, Prince Bernhard, and together they toured the Dutch towns and cities newly liberated by Allied forces. Thereafter, Van de Poll was to remain the royal family’s in-house photographer through to the late 1950s, even accompanying Bernhard and Juliana on holidays and state visits. During this post-war period, he also became passionately interested in the new state of Israel. He made thousands of the photographs of the country, including many showing the fate of the Palestinians.

In the mid-1960s Willem van de Poll moved to Switzerland. By that time he had retired and on December 10, 1970 he died in Amsterdam, following a short illness.

The National Archives of the Netherlands and the Hague Museum of Photography presented the first ever major retrospective of work by this Dutch photographer on the 35th anniversary of his death in 2005-2006. His work is also in the Rijks Museum.

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Willem Van de Poll Swimmer

Price $1,500
Sale Price $1,050

Main Image

Ref.# 14603

Medium Silver print

Mount unmounted

Photo Date 1940s  Print Date 1940s

Dimensions 11-1/2 x 9 in. (292 x 229 mm)

Photo Country Netherlands

Photographer Country Netherlands


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