xPrevious Articles

News from Berlin

“The World ca.1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War” - Martin-Gropius-Bau Exhibition

October 13th, 2014
20141013_‘The World ca. 1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War’ - Martin-Gropius-Bau Exhibition.jpg

News from Berlin - The Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin is currently hosting an exhibition of photographs from French banker Albert Kahn’s Les Archives de la Planète collection. The exhibition, open until November 2nd, is showcasing colour photographs commissioned by Kahn depicting scenes from around the world, prior to the First World War.

Les Archives de la Planète (Archives of the Planet) was born out of Albert Kahn’s desire for global peace at a time when the major powers of Europe were already competing in an arms race. He recognised the relationship between intercultural understanding - of lifestyles, arts, customs, and so on - and peace between the nations of the world. So, in 1909, he commissioned many photographers and dispatched them in all corners of the globe in order to capture local scenes on film, giving an insight into different cultures in the world. The resulting archive of technologically cutting-edge colour photographs would, Kahn hoped, help fulfil his vision of peace through exposure to previously unknown cultures. With such an ambitious project, Kahn may be considered to be a pioneer for Cultural Diplomacy in his generation.

Out of the astonishingly large collection of approximately 70,000 photographs from Archives of the Planet, Martin-Gropius-Bau have carefully selected more than 160 for the exhibition. Although Kahn continued the project into the early 1930s, the exhibition focuses on the pre-First World War period in commemoration of the centenary of the Great War and its lasting significance. Included in the selection are photographs of famous world monuments such as the sphinx and pyramids in Giza and the Taj Mahal, both in 1914. Also included are candid scenes of local citizens going about their everyday lives in various locations, from a market scene in Sarajevo in 1912, to a Parisian family on July 24th 1914, a mere four days before the outbreak of war.

The ‘The World ca. 1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War’ is open Wednesdays - Mondays, closed on Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 19:00 and offers discounts on entry tickets for students, groups and is free for children. For more information, see the Martin-Gropius-Bau website:

Martin-Gropius-Bau Website

News from Berlin - Berlin Global