Collection - Legends in Life and Art: The Portrait Photography of Roloff Beny - Exhibitions - Library and Archives Canada
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  Important Notices  
Roloff Beny Introduction Biography Portraits Collection

The Roloff Beny Collection was donated to the National Archives of Canada by the Estate of Roloff Beny in 1993. In addition to the acquisition of a major photographic and manuscript collection of considerable value, the National Archives received generous support from the Beny Estate to fund the arrangement, description, conservation and preservation copying of the collection. The National Archives secured funding from the Roloff Beny Foundation to continue this work and provide for the organization of additional material relating to Roloff Beny's early career as an artist.

Glenn Gould.  PA-182786

The collection contains a vast number of photographic images, supported by a large and highly significant body of manuscript material. The photographic portion of the Roloff Beny Collection comprises approximately 200,000 items, negatives, transparencies, contact prints, printer's prints and fine prints, taken from photo images conceived and shot in 43 countries. His subject matter includes Canadian scenery, ranging from the pristine frozen landscapes of the North, the vast emptiness of the Prairies, the fishing villages of the East Coast and the modern urban architecture of Toronto and Montreal.
Leontyne Price.  PA-196321

He was, however, primarily interested in the works of classical art, architecture and sculpture, and it is as a photographer of these images that he is remembered and celebrated: the sculpture and architecture of Greco-Roman cultures concentrated around the Mediterranean. Beny created a fine collection of images depicting the temples and sacred objects of the Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist religions, including the iconography of their places of veneration and the imposing and often erotic sculptural expression of idolatry in India. In addition, during his years in Iran, he compiled an outstanding collection of approximately 30,000 images including virtually every major town and many isolated villages. The collection also contains magnificent images from Italy providing an extensive overview of the sculptural and architectural splendour of the Renaissance and includes a unique selection of more than 200 churches in Rome.
John Butler.  PA-196318
Significant interest in the Roloff Beny Collection has already been expressed internationally. The National Archives of Canada receives regular enquiries regarding the published use of his images, and plans are under way for the future production of several books pertaining to Iran, illustrated with material from his photographic archive. Given the universal appeal of the Roloff Beny Collection, there can be little doubt that it will prove to be a valuable addition to the holdings of the National Archives of Canada.
Eleanor Brown, Archivist