PhotoLexicon, Volume 22, nr. 37 (September 2005) (en)

Wally Elenbaas

Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho


The oeuvre of artist and photographer Wally Elenbaas covers the period 1930 to 2004. Particularly at the start of his artistic career, he contributed to innovations in photography through his modern visual idiom and his surrealistic experiments. Elenbaas was an active member of avant-garde associations such as Links Richten (‘Aim Left’), De 8 en Opbouw, and the Vereeniging van Arbeidersfotografen (‘Association of Worker Photographers’). Starting in the 1940s, he followed his own path and achieved results that were both audacious and distinctive.




Valdemar Hansen (Wally) Elenbaas is born on 12 April 1912 as the eighth child of Jan Kornelis Elenbaas and Klazina Roest. Through the trade union movement, Wally’s father went from being a cigar maker to becoming the director of the insurance company ‘De Vooruitgang’ (‘Progress’), established for the workers. Due to Wally’s weak health, he is kept indoors and spends much of his time reading.


Wally Elenbaas begins learning stenography and mercantile bookkeeping. Following the ULO (Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs, ‘Expanded Primary School’), he is employed as an office clerk for a grain import company. He enrols as a member of the CJB (Communistische Jeugdbond, ‘Communist Youth Federation’), and later, of the CPN (Communistische Partij Nederland, ‘Communist Party Netherlands’). The company where Elenbaas works goes bankrupt. He decides to become an artist and play an active role in the revolution. He joins the collective ‘Links Richten’ (‘Aim Left’) and the VAF (Vereeniging van Arbeidersfotografen, ‘Association of Workers Photographers’).

Elenbaas becomes an assistant to Dick Elffers and reads everything he can find on the topic of photography.

Elenbaas has his first exhibitions, together with Elffers.


Dick Elffers and Fie Hartog invite Elenbaas on a trip to Paris, during which he makes the acquaintance of Esther (Es) Hartog, a telephone operator with the PTT (the former Dutch national postal, telegraph, and telephone company). Elenbaas moves in with Esther Hartog, who offers to be the breadwinner so he can develop himself further as an artist.


Elenbaas participates in Foto ’37, the most important photography exhibition prior to the war, held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


Esther Hartog quits her job at the PTT. Together, Elenbaas and Hartog depart for Corsica. Elenbaas is impressed by the Mediterranean Sea and proceeds to sketch, draw, and photograph avidly. Due to the outbreak of the war, the couple returns to the Netherlands. They move to Rotterdam and live on the Haringvliet.


Elenbaas has his first solo exhibition at the Cineac movie theatre. Hartog, who wishes to follow in Elenbaas’ footsteps and herself become a photographer, assists Jan Kamman for a brief period during his classes at the ABK (‘Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘Academy of Visual Arts’) in Rotterdam. Six months later, Hartog’s application to the academy is turned down based on her Jewish background. In the years that follow, Hartog develops her knowledge of photography and gains practical experience working with Elenbaas. She even makes attempts to become a professional photographer, but without success. She eventually exhibits her work as ‘Esther Elenbaas’, at the exhibition Foto ’48 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


Elenbaas and Hartog move to the island of Katendrecht in Rotterdam. Shortly thereafter, Hartog finds she has no choice but to go into hiding. In the coming years, Elenbaas frequently travels around the country in connection with various illegal activities, e.g. producing forged identity papers. While on the move, he is arrested and transferred to Camp Amersfoort, where he is imprisoned for several months. He is released with the help of false identity papers.


During the Hunger Winter of 1944, Elenbaas and Hartog withdraw to their abandoned, boarded-up house on Katendrecht. Neighbours supply them with food. Elenbaas also falsifies food ration coupons. A substantial number of Elenbaas’ photos are lost during the years of the German occupation.


Once the war has ended, Elenbaas and Hartog marry. Elenbaas no longer takes many photographs. After having been in hiding, he refuses to be dependent on anyone or anything in order to obtain work. He begins drawing and painting. He also makes etchings in black and white.


Elenbaas discovers the lithographic press. Lithography becomes his new working medium. He receives an opportunity to work in the studios of ‘Ons Huis’ (‘Our House’), a centre for the visual arts in Rotterdam (from 1978 on, called the ‘Lantaren/Venster’ Theatre). With the Rotterdam group ‘R32’, and later with the ‘Venstergroep’, Elenbaas exhibits his work to the public.


In this year, Elenbaas and Hartog receive a number of commercial photography commissions, including the photographing of ships for the shipping company Nievelt-Goudriaan. Elenbaas exhibits his prints and sells large quantities of his colour lithographs.


Elenbaas receives a prize for his graphic art, awarded at the Biënnale in Venice (1952). With the prize money, Elenbaas and Hartog decide to take an extended trip. In the coming years, they travel to Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal. More international art awards follow.

Elenbaas produces a number of monumental mosaics and reliefs, commissioned by large companies and municipal governments, including the ‘Nieuwe Provinciehuis’ (‘New Provincial Office’) in Arnhem (1954).


Elenbaas works as an instructor at the ABK in Rotterdam. Working with a lithographic press becomes too difficult for him, and consequently, he learns the new medium of silk-screen printing. Elenbaas is one of the first graphic artists in the Netherlands to use this medium as a means to create autonomous art. Just as with photography, his interest lies both in the technical and aesthetic aspects of the medium.

From 1983

Elenbaas is physically incapable of printing and returns to photography. Because his freedom of movement is becoming increasingly limited, he photographs solely on Katendrecht; later, only from the interior of his own home.


On 12 September, Esther Hartog dies in Rotterdam.


Elenbaas bequeaths five 6×6 negative albums to the Nederlands Fotomuseum (‘Netherlands Photo Museum’) in Rotterdam.


Elenbaas donates numerous works to various museum collections, including the CBK (Centrum Beeldende Kunst, ‘Visual Art Centre’) in Rotterdam (graphic art), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (graphic art), and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (photography).


Wally Elenbaas dies on 21 May in Rotterdam, at the age of 96.


Wally Elenbaas’ oeuvre can be described as highly diverse. In the 1930s, he was influenced by modern international movements such as Constructivism and Surrealism. With heart and soul, Elenbaas devoted his energy to the social causes of his day. Besides a very clear delivery, Elenbaas’ photography during these years is marked by significant attention to formal aspects and beauty. When, along the way, Elenbaas rejected the international photography world and—living entirely in his own world—began photographing only his closest friends and personal experiences, he discovered a kind of photography, together with his wife, which is characterised by a high degree of individuality and audaciousness. Working within a pure, formal idiom would always remain essential to Elenbaas.

Wally’s first major motivator was his older brother, Nico, who introduced him to a world in which a whole new range of political and artistic ideas had come into being just shortly before. Nico was friends with the architect Mart Stam, the co-designer of the Van Nelle Factory, built in Schiedam between 1926 and 1929. With Nico’s small, new 3×4 camera, the two brothers recorded the progress of the building’s construction. On this topic, Wally stated: ‘I roamed about the city with my brother. We photographed the new factory of Van Nelle, and everything else directly from above or directly from below, but never with a straight horizon, because you couldn’t let yourself to do that’ (Schmidt 1973). The photos were developed at their parents’ home in the bathroom. Wally was greatly interested in the technical aspects of photography. From the start, his early photographic insights were already in tune with the modern movements, such as encountered in the work of the Russian constructivists. Wally’s initial ideas arose from discussions with his brother. At the same time, he read Russian monthly magazines full of propagandistic photomontages (anno 2005, he no longer recalls their titles) and the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (‘Workers Illustrated Newspaper)’, with photomontages by John Heartfield on the cover. Elenbaas cherished publications such as Es kommt der neue Fotograf (‘Here Comes the New Photographer’, 1929) and Foto-auge (‘Photo Eye’, 1929). In addition to constructivist principles of form, he also had an affinity for Russian constructivist political ideology.

Through the CPN (Communistische Partij Nederland, ‘Communist Party Netherlands’), Elenbaas came into contact with the designer, graphic artist, and advertising photographer Dick Elffers (1910–1990). Thanks to his father’s financial support, Elenbaas became Elffers’ apprentice/assistant. He was assigned darkroom work, but by his own account, this was because he quickly managed to surpass Elffers in the area of technique. It was at Elffers’ studio that Elenbaas came into contact with the first generation of left-wing artists in the Netherlands, including Piet Zwart (1885–1977) and Paul Schuitema (1897–1973). Together, they often talked about politics, art, and the revolutionary media of photography and film. Elenbaas completely subscribed to Zwart and Schuitema’s revolutionary ideas on these topics and decided to join their ranks. Elenbaas assisted Schuitema—who had just returned from the USSR—with hanging up Russian posters for his Rotterdam exhibition at ‘Ons Huis’ (‘Our House’), at the time a building for so-called ‘volksontwikkelingswerk’ (‘people’s development work’, after World War II an art centre, and since 1978 the ‘Lantaren/Venster’ Theatre).

At a young age, Wally Elenbaas had therefore established himself in an artistic, but also a very politically engaged circle of people. Both the aesthetic and the social aspects of art were to remain essential in Elenbaas’ pre-war oeuvre.

In 1928–1929, during riots stemming from the workers’ strikes on the Hugo de Grootstraat in Rotterdam, the police assaulted Elenbaas with clubs as he was coincidentally passing by. Angered by this incident, he signed up with the CJB (Communistische Jeugdbond, ‘Communist Youth League’) and later the CPN. When Elenbaas—like so many other middle-class citizens and labourers—lost his job as a result of the economic depression, he decided around 1930 to live by the much quoted phrase: ‘better to suffer poverty as an artist than as an unemployed office employee’. From that moment on, he devoted his full effort to the CPN. Due to the immense economic crisis and overwhelming unemployment, the mentality in the party had shifted from a utopian longing to a fierce willingness to take action. The young Elenbaas was clearly drawn to this rebellious and courageous aspect of the communist movement. ‘This period was also a form of youthful defiance. I was looking for a belief, but I was more than anything fanatically involved with Wally. I still had to figure him out’, as he described the situation in 2004.

Around 1931, Elenbaas became a member of the Rotterdam workers–writers collective ‘Links Richte’ (‘Aim Left’). From this group, the VAF (Vereeniging voor Arbeidersfotografen, ‘Association of Worker Photographers’) was founded under the direction of Paul Schuitema. Together with Elffers, Elenbaas played an active part in this initiative from the outset. Starting in 1933, they went out into the streets of Rotterdam to photograph the many instances of social injustice. Elenbaas took photos of the demonstrations and disturbances—rarely from the sidelines. He assisted with painting the text ‘Fascism is murder’ on a wall and subsequently took a photograph of it: ‘Now the photo is important, but then it was the slogan’ (Van Adrichem 1994).

Only fifteen of Elenbaas’ ‘worker photos’ from the year 1933 have been preserved. In these photos, the street scenes—such as found in all photos taken by the worker photographers—are alternated with clear, almost abstract shots. In these photos, Elenbaas was able to show what he felt was important: the visual idiom of New Photography as implemented both by Russian and Dutch photographers, including Schuitema, Zwart and Kiljan, but now directed as a means to exert social pressure. In Elenbaas’ oeuvre, these series are among the images most frequently reproduced, first and foremost because of their notable historical importance. In specific terms, they may be seen as true testimonial documents. These are also significant images from an aesthetic viewpoint, however, characterised by their austere beauty.

Elenbaas belongs to the second wave of photographers who worked according to the principles of New Photography. Where the first generation applied photography primarily in printed matter with an illustrative, educative, or commercial function, this second generation was entirely independent: ‘At that time, I was seeking the possibility of producing a photo that could find a place in the visual arts.’ In the early 1930s, Elenbaas took photos primarily of his social surroundings, with his main topic centred on the lower classes, poverty, and unemployment—all according to the formal principles of New Photography. His political message, however, varied in its explicitness. When telling the down-and-out story of his generation, Elenbaas was frequently distracted by the beauty of light, shining on his subjects, or the dynamic of linear rhythms.

People, and especially women, were of major importance to Elenbaas. But he also photographed abstract cityscapes. It was through the CJB (Communistische Jeugdbond, ‘Communist Youth League’) that he met the young girls depicted in his photos, with many of them coming from the lower working classes. Their openness and experience fascinated the young Elenbaas. He photographed them in the attic room of his parents’ home. The political situation in which these women found themselves seemed to fade into the background: ‘At the Communist Youth League, we also discovered one another,’ Elenbaas later observed.

From 1936 on, Elenbaas began to gradually lose faith in the communist viewpoint. He started to question his active role in society, and after reading about the Moscow Trials of 1938, he decided to break his ties with the CPN definitively. As he put it in 1982: ‘Photography, that was a revolutionary medium. Later, that adjective fell to the wayside.’ After having relinquished communist Russia as a model of enlightenment, Elenbaas turned to Surrealism in France. He found his inspiration in the numerous French magazines and books he was reading and began handcrafting a variety of pieces, which he photographed along with other unusual objects. The surrealists were critical of the politicisation of art. In the manifestos of 1929 and 1935, some of them distanced themselves from their previous connections with the Communist Party. Elenbaas was able to relate to this move himself: by this time his photography had become so personal and arbitrary, it could no longer be used as a political weapon. He described his own photos as being that of a ‘fantastical romanticist’, referring to the dream-like, associative narratives depicted in his work, based on what appeared to be everyday objects: ‘Perhaps it was my nature to reposition the object based on fantasy.’

In his article on Elenbaas, Jan van Adrichem cited a number of motifs typically encountered in Surrealism, which appealed to the photographer and were therefore perceptible in his work, e.g. the dramatic enhancement of the eyes, as well as the use of mirrors and other objects that have a disorienting effect (Van Adrichem 1994). Van Adrichem also addressed the primitive forms that served as sources of inspiration in Elenbaas’ work. Particularly important, however, was the surrealists’ experimentation with a wide range of techniques. Elenbaas himself also delved into the various techniques of photographic manipulation, e.g. solarisation, the combination of negative and positive prints, double exposure, and the combination print.

From 1935 to 1988, Wally Elenbaas and Esther Hartog together formed an absolute duo. They were united by their mutual love for literature, travel, and photography, but especially their exceptionally open-minded view of the world. Esther was Wally’s muse and an important motivator. Her work as a telephone operator, a correspondent in Spanish, and thereafter as a social worker allowed Elenbaas to fully take advantage of his artistic potential. Whenever Wally swayed off course in the direction of other disciplines, it was Esther who made sure he remained actively involved in photography.

In the 1940s and ’50s, Elenbaas and Hartog travelled across Europe as adventurers, documenting their experiences abroad in collaborative photographic projects. They shot street scenes in Paris and photographed landscapes in Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Upon returning home, books were made from these series, bearing titles such as De Wegen Langs de straat (‘The Roads Along the Street’). In the late 1950s, Elenbaas and Hartog began taking nude photos of their women friends.

When it comes to the couple’s projects carried out jointly in the years 1947–1960, distinguishing the involvement of one from the other poses a difficult task. Based on their strong connection, they themselves never provided any clear definition regarding which name belonged to what photo. Elenbaas was once known to have said: ‘Es[ther] is good at photographing people. She has a very direct approach, very different from me’ (Harms 1994).

From the time they met in 1935 until Esther’s death in 1998, Elenbaas photographed her always and everywhere. In 2002, he compiled a book from these photos as a tribute to her, entitled De honderd gezichten van Esther Hartog (‘The Hundred Faces of Esther Hartog’).

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Elenbaas and Hartog took many intimate nude portraits of their female friends and acquaintances in their home. Elenbaas’ students at the art academy in Rotterdam as well posed for the couple. These photos can be described as having a certain spontaneity and simplicity, achieved through the informal atmosphere in their home, but also through the limited financial means they had at their disposal on Katendrecht, the island neighbourhood of Rotterdam where they lived. Young models were positioned either on the sofa or in front of a window, as well accompanied by attributes such as a plant or a blanket. Light and shadow served as their main tools in continually devising a new image. They worked together based on an idea conceived in advance, based on a poem or an image. Yet they also allowed themselves to be guided by the chemistry arising in the moment itself.

Remarkably, in many of the images the heads of these young women are omitted, covered up, or lost in the shadows. This is in part to be explained by Elenbaas and Hartog’s formalistic approach: as such, the emphasis shifted more in the direction of the ageless forms of the female body. The era, however, is also certain to have played its role: the sexual revolution had not yet arrived. This can also be concluded from the public’s harsh response to the nude subject of these photographs. When, in 1962, it became known that Elenbaas was having a relationship with a female student at the academy, he was subsequently fired and arrested, with the vast majority of the photos and negatives seized by the authorities. It was not until 1995 that the photos were again made public: ‘After that terrible mess, we never took any more portraits together again’ (Harms 1994).

On many levels, Wally Elenbaas’ oeuvre bears similarities to the work of his contemporaries, who were also adherents of New Photography. This applies as much to his choice of subject matter as to aspects of form: austereness, the diagonal line, the isolating of subjects from their contexts, as well as a degree of abstraction are all characteristics of his work. The difference between Elenbaas and prominent figures such as Schuitema and Zwart, with whom he associated for a brief period of time, is that he rarely went public with his work, excepting the occasional exhibition. Another difference, however, is that Elenbaas was ready to move on following this brief period of experimentation. Even his surrealistic period remained limited to an introverted form of expression, as he found no connection with those who were like-minded. In the Netherlands, the surrealistic movement scarcely existed—in photography even less than when compared to painting.

Photography always remained important to Elenbaas, even at times when he was less active or not showing any work to the public: ‘Besides working for money, the mosaic for art, and lithography, photography was still always on my mind, because that was how I had established my reputation.’ A recent exhibition of his photography held at the Fotomuseum (‘Photo Museum’) in The Hague demonstrated that wherever he worked—be it out on the street interacting with labourers, in the privacy of his personal surroundings, with women friends posing as nude models, on Katendrecht, or indoors at home—Elenbaas’ photos attest to a keen eye for the unusual in everyday things, in combination with a feeling for photographic technique and the aesthetic of the photographic medium.


Primary bibliography

(eigen publicaties: tekst, eventueel met foto ‘s, maar ook fotoboeken e.d.)

Wally Elenbaas, Letterboek van Wally Elenbaas, Rotterdam (Rotterdamse Kunstkring) 1977 (serie: Groot Sondeboek [2]).

Wally Elenbaas (teksten foto’s), De honderd gezichten van Esther Hartog, Rotterdam (Duo Duo) 2002.


(foto ‘s in boeken, tijdschriften en ander drukwerk)

J. de Vries (red.), Tot de strijd ons geschaard. Beeldverhaal CPN Nederland, Amsterdam (Pegasus) 1979, p. 52-53.

J. Stark, Van Romantische foto’s tot de broek van Van Agt, in Adformatie (7 februari 1980), p. 25.

Catalogus tent. Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegeling in Nederland van ca. 1840 tot heden, Nijmegen (Nijmeegs Museum) 1983, p. 42, 84-85.

Het Parool 14 december 1983.

G. Hadders, De onmogelijke tentoonstelling, in Foto in vorm, Grafisch Nederland 1984, p. 50.

R. Kousbroek, 66 zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen, Amsterdam (Nicolaas Henneman Stichting) 1989, afb. 32.

Catalogus verkooptentoonstelling 90 fotografie: Arthur Bagen, Paul Beckman, Marinus Boezem, Wally Elenbaas, Ine Lamers, Charly van Rest, Eric van der Schalie, Paul Schuitema, Alex Vermeulen, Willem Witsen, Mirjam de Zeeuw, Steef Zoetmulder, Venlo etc. (Museum Van Bommel Van Dam etc.) 1990, p. 24-25.

Max Nord e.a., Rebel, mijn hart. Kunstenaars 1940-1945, Zwolle (Waanders) 1995, p. 11.

Catalogus tent. Momentopname. Caldic Collectie, Rotterdam 1996, Rotterdam (Caldic Collectie) 1996, p. 48-49, 90.

A. Elshout, Het vaderoffer, in Het Parool 21 februari 1998.

Robyn de Jong-Daziel, Barbera Kooij en Astrid Vorstermans (eindred.), Collect/ recollect. Een dialoog tussen lokale kunst en een internationaal georiënteerd museum/ A dialogue between local art and an internationally oriented museum, Rotterdam (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen/ NAi Uitgevers) 1999, p. 28.

Bulletin Museum Boijmans van Beuningen 028 (2001), afb. 5.

Catalogus tent. Rookgordijnen. Roken in de kunsten: van olieverf tot celluloid, Amsterdam/Rotterdam (Ludion/ Kunsthal Rotterdam) 2003, p. 134.

Secondary bibliography

(publicaties over de fotograaf en/of zijn werk)

Anoniem, Studio ’32. Werk van Dick Elffers en Victor Elenbaas, in NRC Handelsblad 1936.

Pieter A. Scheen, Lexicon Nederlandse beeldende kunstenaars 1750-1950, Den Haag (Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen) 1969, p. 309.

Catalogus tent. W. Elenbaas – grafiek 1946-1973, Rotterdam (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen) 1973.

Anoniem, Wally Elenbaas. 15 december- 20 januari, in Bulletin Museum Boymans van Beuningen (december 1973) 8, p.60.

B. Schmidt, Hans Elenbaas: Bonbondozen en grafiek, in Het Vrije Volk 8 december 1973.

Ursula den Tex (eindred.), De bevrijde camera, Bijvoegsel Vrij Nederland (15 mei 1976) 20, p. 15, 18, 43.

Joke Gerritsen, Wally Elenbaas, Litho’s, zeefdrukken, schilderijen, foto’s en …, in Magazine november 1977, p. 27.

Flip Bool en Kees Broos (red), Fotografie in Nederland 1920-1940, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1979, p. 52-53, 75, 87, 137, 142, 148 (met foto’s).

Bertus Schmidt, Rode jaren. Herinneringen van een anti-fascist, Rotterdam (Rotterdamse Kunststichting) 1981, (serie: Sonde-reeks [45]).

Flip Bool en Jeroen de Vries, De arbeidersfotografen. Camera en crisis in de jaren ’30, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1982, p. 2, 12-13, 62-63, 78-79, 89-91 (met foto’s).

Jan Coppens, De bewogen camera. Protest en propaganda door middel van foto’s, Amsterdam (Meulenhoff/Landshoff) 1982, p. 288-290 (met foto’s).

Hans Redeker e.a., Negen en veertig etsen, een tekening en vier houtsneden. Uitg. ter gelegenheid van de tachtigste verjaardag van Henk Bruintjes, Den Haag (Comité Henk Bruintjes 80 jaar) 1983, p. 71.

Marianne van Erp, Rotterdam, cultuurloze stad?, in M.H. Würzner e.a. (red.), Aspecten van het interbellum. Beeldende kunst, film, fotografie, cultuurfilosofie en literatuur in de periode tussen de twee wereldoorlogen, Leids Kunsthistorisch jaarboek 7 (1988), p. 214-225.

Kees Broos en Flip Bool, De Nieuwe fotografie in Nederland, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Fragment/SDU) 1989, p. 76-77.

Agnes Grondman, John Steen en Laurens van Crevel (red.), Automatische verbeelding. Nederlandse surrealisten, Amsterdam (Meulenhoff/Landshoff) 1989, p. 65-66, 113 (met foto’s).

Hripsimé Visser, Confrontations. Dutch Photographers and their Involvement in (Inter) National Conflicts/Confrontaties. Nederlandse fotografen en hun betrokkenheid bij (inter) nationale conflicten, in Perspektief (mei 1990) 38, p. 27-41 (met foto’s).

Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a. (tekst), Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw/ The Decisive image. Dutch Photography from the 2oth Century, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 141, 190 (met foto’s).

A. Kossmann en J.C. Ebbinge Wubben, Wally Elenbaas. Litho’s en zeefdrukken, Rotterdam (CBK/Artoteek Rijnmond) 1992.

Flora Stiemer e.a, Wout van Heusden 1896-1982. Graficus en schilder in Rotterdam, Rotterdam (Stichting Kunstpublicaties) 1992, p. 8, 25, 52, 62-63.

J. Koopmans, Mythische wereld van Wally Elenbaas, in Rotterdams Dagblad 30 juni 1992

Stichting Nederlands Fotoarchief (nfa). Jaarverslag 1992, p. 11.

J. van Adrichem, De hand van de arbeider. Over de fotografie van Wally Elenbaas, in Metropolis M 15 (april 1994) 6, p. 22-27 (met foto’s).

P. Hellmann, In mijn atelier ben ik een moedig man, in NRG Handelsblad 22 april 1994, Cultureel Supplement.

Ingrid Harms, De geschiedenis van de naaktfoto’s. Wally Elenbaas en Esther Hartog, in Vrij Nederland 17 december 1994, p. 16-17 (met foto’s).

J. van Adrichem, Verzet en aanpassing in de beeldende kunsten en architectuur, in Jan van Adrichem e.a., Rebel mijn hart. Kunstenaars 1940-1945, Zwolle (Waanders) 1995, p. 10-11.

Flip Bool, Moderne fotokunst in Rotterdam, in Piet de Jonge en Gerard Forde (red.), Album. De fotoverzameling van/ The photographic collection of Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen) 1995, p. 84, 88-91, 101-103, 190-195 (met foto’s).

Agenda Museum Boijmans van Beuningen 1997, Rotterdam 1996.

Jacqueline de Jong e.a. (red.), Rijk ben ik er nog niet van geworden. 47 Rotterdamse beeldende kunstenaars, Rotterdam (Duo/Duo) 1997, p. 93-96.

D. Welling, Het eigen verhaal. Een greep uit 50 jaar kunstkritiek, Rotterdam (Rotterdams Dagblad) 2000, p. 46-47.

M. Vermeijden, De Galerie. Castella, Elenbaas en Maas, in NRC Handelsblad 5 mei 2000.

J. Veenstra, Wally Elenbaas geniet van de kleine dingen, in Rotterdams Dagblad 11 mei 2000.

Veilingcatalogus Glerum Auctioneers. Dutch Photography 1900-2000. Veilingnr. 202, 27 november 2000, lot 75-78.

M.E. Halbertsma en P. van Ulzen, Interbellum Rotterdam, Kunst en Cultuur 1918-1940, Rotterdam (NAI Uitgevers/ Stichting Kunstpublicaties) 2001, p. 82, 84-87, 341-342, 349.

P. van Eijkelenburg, Wally Elenbaas exposeert z’n Esther-foto’s in Boijmans, in Rotterdams Dagblad 27 maart 2001.

Wim van Sinderen (red.), Fotografen in Nederland. Een anthologie 1852-2002, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Ludion/Fotomuseum) 2002, p. 108-109 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Elenbaas schenkt foto’s aan museum, in Haagsche Courant 1 november 2004.

Anoniem, Wally Elenbaas, in de Volkskrant 18 november 2004.

Henny de Lange, Onzichtbare portretten, in Trouw 20 november 2004.

Roos van Put, Verschillen en fijngevoelige verleidingen, in Haagsche Courant 29 november 2004.

Okke Groot, Is dat de buurvrouw niet? Foto’s van Wally Elenbaas in Fotomuseum Den Haag, in Nieuwsbrief Nederlands Fotogenootschap (december 2004) 45, p. 26.

Eddie Marsman, Elenbaas evenaart besten van zijn tijd. Expositie plaatst werk Rotterdamse fotograaf naast dat van tijdgenoten, in NRC Handelsblad 30 december 2004.

D. Welling, Rotterdammer Elenbaas schonk Den Haag een foto-collectie, in Pulchri-blad 1 (2005) 33 .

Anoniem, Wally Elenbaas, in NRC Handelsblad 6 januari 2005.


De 8 en Opbouw.

Communistische Jeugdbond.

Links Richten.



Vereeniging van Arbeidersfotografen.


1932 (g) Rotterdam, Ons Huis, Rotterdamse Arfots.

1934 (g) Rotterdam, Bioscoop Studio 32.

1935 (g) Parijs, Wereldtentoonstelling.

1936 (g) Praag, Spolek Vytvarnych Umelco “Manes” [Kunstzaal van de vereniging van beeldende kunstenaars], Mezdinarodui Vystava Fotografie [internationale tentoonstelling van moderne fotografie].

1936 (e) Rotterdam, Bioscoop Studio ’32.

1937 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, foto ’37.

1939 (e) Rotterdam, Bioscoop Studio ’32.

1940 (e) Rotterdam, Cineac Bioscoop.

1979 (g) Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, Foto 20-40.

1983/1984 (g) Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum ‘Commanderie van Sint-Jan’, Fotografische zelfbespiegeling. Het zelfportret in de fotografie in Nederland van ca. 1840.

1984 (e) Rotterdam, Westersingel 8, Wally Elenbaas.

1988 (e) Rotterdam, Museum Katendrecht.

1989 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, De nieuwe fotografie in Nederland (Foto ’89).

1989 (g) Rotterdam, Westersingel 8, De Illusie van de Werkelijkheid (Big Photo Boogaloo II).

1990 (g) Rotterdam, Laurenskerk, Confrontaties. Nederlandse fotografen en hun betrokkenheid bij (inter)nationale conflicten (idem in Overloon, Verzetsmuseum).

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw.

1993 (g) Rotterdam, Galerie Cokkie Snoei.

1993 (g) Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, 1928 schoonheid en transparantie.

1994 (e) Rotterdam, Museum Katendrecht.

1994/1995 (S) Amsterdam, Galerie Torch, Foto ‘s van Esther Hartog + Wally Elenbaas.

1995 (g) Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Collect/recollect.

1997 (g) Rotterdam, Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Zomeropstelling.

1997 (g) Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Links Richten – Rotterdam rond 1930.

1999/2000 (g) Nijmegen, Valkhof, Passages, Joris Ivens en de kunst van deze eeuw.

1999/2000 (g) Rotterdam, Galerie Cokkie Snoei.

2001 (g) Rotterdam, Las Palmas, Interbellum Rotterdam. Kunst en cultuur 1918-1940.

2002 (e) Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Wally Elenbaas en Esther Hartog.

2003 (g) Parijs, Paris Photo [bij Galerie Cokkie Snoei].

2003 (g) Rotterdam, Kunsthal, Rookgordijnen. Roken in de kunsten: van olieverf tot celluloid.

2004 (g) Parijs, Paris Photo [bij Galerie Cokkie Snoei],

2004/2005 (g) Den Haag, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Schenking Wally Elenbaas.


1994 Wally Elenbaas [Beeld en geluid] Geluid (documentaire van 30 minuten), regie en montage Bram Uil.


Leiden, Bibliotheek Kunsthistorisch Instutuut. Universiteit Leiden (ongepubliceerde doctoraal scripties kunstgeschiedenis: Marianne van Erp, Wally Elenbaas, graficus en monumentaal kunstenaar, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, april 1986; W.J. Struyvenberg, De Rotterdamse kunstwereld van de jaren twintig en dertig, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, augustus 1997).

Leiden, Studie en Documentatie Centrum voor Fotografie, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden.

Leusden, Jan Wingender (collectie nederlands fotoboek).

Rotterdam, Nederlands fotomuseum (archief Wally Elenbaas).

Rotterdam, Wally Elenbaas (o.a. mondelinge informatie aan auteur op 8 november 2004).


Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden.

Rotterdam, Centrum Beeldende Kunst

Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

Rotterdam, Nederlands fotomuseum.