The Wendel Collection

From 1964 until his death in 1980, Heinrich Wendel was the head stage designer for the German Opera on the Rhine in Düsseldorf and one of the most renowned stage designers in Germany. The design and presentation of rooms using lighting and projection was a central aspect of his artistic work. Against this background, between 1964 and 1970 he travelled extensively throughout the Franco-Cantabrian region with the aim of finding inspiration for his work in prehistoric cave art. In doing so he brought a highly professional, uniform approach, carried out with scientific rigour. He was able to take photographs in parts of the caves not open to the public. Over time he amassed an extensive photographic archive of over 3,000 images. Not only do they record the state of preservation of the art found in ca. 50 caves, they also manifest the perspective of a stage designer: they show cave art as a medium through which a given space is transformed into a stage. More than 20 years after his death, Heinrich Wendel's photographic collection was entrusted to the Neanderthal Museum for conservation and use in research.

Sponsored by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (2001-2002)

Further information: The Wendel Collection in NESPOS