PhotoLexicon, Volume 25, nr. 39 (March 2008) (en)

Karel Kleijn

Liesbeth Zandstra

Annika Hendriksen


Within a period of just four years, Karel Kleijn built up an extensive photographic oeuvre that encompasses various approaches to photography. In his cityscapes and landscapes, there are traces of Pictorialism and amateur photography, but one can also observe principles of New Photography. In advertising photography, Kleijn showed a sensitivity to the developments of his era, as well as a desire to seek his own solutions in meeting the requirements that the new functions of photography had placed on form. Kleijn photographed landscapes and cities, street scenes, artisans, artists, friends and children, artworks, industrial objects, and modern architecture.




Karel Johan (Karel) Kleijn is born on 3 June in Goes as the third son of Antonie Kleyn (1865–1943) and Anna Johanna Catharina Ratering (1875–1951), following his brothers Antonie (1907) and Lodewijk Johannes (1908). Antonie Sr. is a consignee of registrations and domains.


According to the archival ‘family card’ (Amsterdam City Archive), the family moves to the Parklaan in Haarlem in this year.


Kleijn wins second prize in the ‘Junior’ category when participating in a competition for ‘all Amateurs in Haarlem and Environs’, organised by the amateur photographers association ‘Camera Obscura’ in Haarlem. The photo, entitled Duister en Licht (‘Darkness and Light’), is published in Focus.


Following his final examination, Kleijn takes a brief film class with Studio Ivens in Amsterdam, under the direction of Willem Bon. Frans Dupont, a photographer and film-maker in training, is also in the class.


Against his father’s will, Kleijn begins a career as a photographer and advertising designer.

He produces small advertising booklets for youth associations, such as the LCKV (Leidsche Christelijke Kampeer Vereeniging, ‘Leiden Christian Camping Assocation’), where both of his brothers hold positions in the supervisory board.

In 1933, the architects Komter and Mastenbroek, both members of ‘Groep 32’ (‘Group 32’), commission Kleijn to take photos of the firm’s new studio on Prinseneiland and models for a number of villas in Aerdenhout. Through contacts of this sort, Kleijn becomes acquainted with new notions concerning art.


In September, Kleijn is hired by Van Leer’s Vatenfabrieken (‘Van Leer’s Barrel Factories’). As the head of the advertising department, he produces advertising brochures for Van Leer’s products, together with two other employees, Kees Hana and Hein de Bouter. He also produces a large wall of photos showing details of the factory spaces and manufacturing equipment. For the Kavaljos Circus, which is both owned by and a serious hobby of Bernard van Leer, Klein makes reportages featuring various acts.

Starting in 1934, Kleijn designs the annual calendars of the Vereeniging van Raden van Arbeid (‘Association of Councils of Labour’), commissioned by the Algemeene Voorlichtings-Commissie (‘General Information Committee’).


Karel Kleijn moves to one of the newly completed studio residences designed by the architects Zanstra, Giesen and Simons on the Zomerdijkstraat in Amsterdam, where he starts up an advertising agency on his own. Other artists living in these studio residences are Gerrit van der Veen, Han Wezelaar, Piet Worm, and Matthieu Wiegman. Kleijn maintains close contacts with these ‘neighbours’.


In July, Kleijn weds Margaretha Johanna Maria (Greet) Wiegman, the daughter of Matthieu Wiegman.

After a difficult start, business starts going well for Kleijn’s studio for photography, advertising, and film. Besides photos of friends and acquaintances, Kleijn takes shots that he believes will be useful for his advertising work.

Kleijn meets Chris Blom and Gilles de Neve of the Contact publishing company. With these publishers, the plan to produce a series of photobooks about the Netherlands comes into being, under the title De schoonheid van ons land (‘The Beauty of our Country’). The first book of the series, Van Texel tot Wakkeren (‘From Texel to Wakkeren’), appears in August; the second volume, Amsterdam, in December.

In this same year, Kleijn and Willem Sandberg are jointly commissioned to design exhibition material on behalf of the ‘exhibition committee’ established by the Vereeniging van Raden van Arbeid and the Rijksverzekeringsbank (‘National Insurance Bank’). The exhibition on social insurance legislation takes place in September at the ‘Jaarbeurs’ (a convention centre) in Utrecht.


Besides posters, advertising brochures and menus, Kleijn takes shots for three photobooks of the Contact series. The third volume, Hei en bos (‘Moor and Woods’), appears in August. In June, a slide presentation of Kleijn’s work takes place at the Amsterdam movie theatre, De Uitkijk. Kleijn’s friend, C. Brants, a notary, had introduced him there.

On 19 September, Kleijn dies unexpectedly of meningitis—at the age of twenty-six. In commemoration, an area is devoted to Kleijn’s work at the exhibition Foto ’37 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Attention is primarily given to his photobooks.

An exhibition of Kleijn’s posters that had been planned at the Santee Landweer Gallery is cancelled as a result of Kleijn’s death.

In December, two volumes in the Contact series appear posthumously, Rondom de Zuiderzee (‘Around the Zuiderzee’) and De residentie (‘The Residency’ = The Hague).


Karel Kleijn was a loner and a self-willed individual. As early as secondary school, he knew he was going to choose for a career in art. His decision may have perhaps been motivated by a desire to follow the example of his grandfather, Lodewijk J. Kleijn, a painter of The Hague School and a student of A. Schelfhout. Karel’s elder brother, Loek, was a decent painter; his eldest brother, Antonie, photographed as well, though not professionally.

Kleijn became a member of the photography club at his school, submitted photos to the well-known Focus competitions, and occasionally won an award. His winning photos were painterly both in tone and atmosphere, with beautiful light-and-dark effects and chiefly vague contours. Kleijn, however, was by no means a photographer in the purest sense: he combined his photography with drawing and design art.

After secondary school, Kleijn chose not to attend the art academy, learning design and photography through practical experience instead. By competing in contests for posters, vignettes, and mascots hosted in this period by a variety of companies for their advertising campaigns, Kleijn hoped to gain a solid foothold as an advertising man. Examples of this work are a vignette for Vliscostoffen (‘Vlisco Fabrics’) and advertising plates for the ‘Beverwijksche Conservenfabrieken’ (Beverwijk Conserved Goods Factories’). In the end, however, these designs were never realised. Kleijn was frequently inspired by posters designed by the French designer and typographer Adolphe Cassandre, whose famous posters ‘Nord Express’ (‘North Express’) and ‘Soolshoeden’ (‘Sool’s Hats’) were hanging in his studio. Kleijn adopted especially the sprayed colour surfaces, the stylised figures, and the diagonal lines in his poster designs—as well never executed—for De Vries Robbé, Teo paints, and Hoppe genever. In addition, Kleijn produced posters and brochures, which, from the very start, looked more modern, having features that were typically found in New Typography and phototypography. Yet he was not one to strictly follow the ‘rules’ laid down in these fields, such as the taboo on the use of illustrations.

Among Kleijn’s earliest clients were the architect Auke Komter and his business partner Mastenbroek. Shortly after meeting each other in ‘Groep 32’ (‘Group 32’), Komter and Mastenbroek had established their firm in a studio they designed themselves on Prinseneiland in Amsterdam. Kleijn photographed their new studio, their design drawings, and their architectural models for a project in Aerdenhout of 1933. This business association, however, was short-lived.

Because Kleijn saw a relationship between film and photography, in 1932 he took a class in film given by Willem Bon of Studio Ivens, the so-called FTL (Filmtechnische Leergang, ‘Film-Technical Class’). It was here that Kleijn also studied under John Fernhout, Joop Huisken, Helen van Dongen, and Willem Bon, together with Willem Gerdes and Frans Dupont among others. Starting in 1933, Bon and Dupont shared the function of co-director at the FTL. Although Klein later added film to his company vignette—in addition to advertising and photography—no known film activity can be attributed to him. Perhaps he was averse to the sociopolitical views espoused by the filmmakers surrounding Ivens. Several years later, however, Kleijn did design a film poster for Het Mysterie van de Mondscheinsonate (‘The Mystery of the Moonlight Sonata’), a film version of Willy Corsari’s book of the same title. Oscar van Leer was responsible for the editing. It is not known whether the design was ever realised.

In September 1934, Kleijn was hired as a photographer and designer at Van Leer’s Vatenfabrieken (‘Van Leer’s Barrel Factories’), most likely introduced by his friend, Oscar van Leer. With his view that photography could play a significant role in advertising, Kleijn exhibited a modern vision that appealed to Van Leer. In the past, this company had often given young artists an opportunity to show what they could achieve in the areas of advertising and photography. Kleijn was given a 35 mm camera for his own use, which he used together with a Kolibri and a Goerz folding camera. For almost one year, he produced all of the company’s print advertising and reportage work, as well photographing the machinery, the employees, and the products. In this manner, Kleijn had begun to build a collection of photos that could be used for his designs. He photographed objects and machinery using stylistic means that were characteristic of the New Photography: close-up shots and a large depth of field were used to capture the detailed textural expression of the machinery and the serially manufactured products. Only a couple of these designs are known, thanks to photos taken by Kleijn with which he documented his own work. Van Leer’s company archive comprises not a single brochure or poster from the period that Kleijn was employed with the firm. Kleijn left the company in 1935 and is said to have been followed by one of his fellow colleagues, Hein de Bouter, who subsequently worked as his assistant for a brief period of time. In 1936, De Bouter became the assistant of Jaap d’Oliveira.

In 1935, at a time when major unemployment made it difficult for photographers to survive independently, Kleijn took the risk of starting up his own photography and advertising studio. He moved into a studio residence (‘atelierwoning’) on the Zomerdijkstraat in Amsterdam. It was here that he came into contact with a large group of artists, including Leo Braat, Han Wezelaar and Gerrit van der Veen. Klein portrayed a number of artists, such as Matthieu Wiegman and the Spanish painter Manuel Ortiz de Zarate, whom Wiegman had met in Paris. Kees van Dongen and Maria Rompelman also posed for Kleijn. For an article in the magazine Op de Hoogte (‘Up to Date’), Kleijn made a photo reportage in the studio of the sculptor Johan Polet. In this reportage, he documented—from start to finish—the portrait bust that Polet was making of Sir Henri Deterding, the director-general of the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij (‘Royal Netherlands Petroleum Company’, later Royal Dutch Shell). Kleijn also photographed the work of other sculptors and painters. Some of these photos were published in the magazine Kroniek van hedendaagsche kunst en kuituur (‘Chronicle of Contemporary Art and Culture’), which appeared for the first time in June 1935. In the magazine’s early days, the editorial staff included the writer Edouard de Nève (a pseudonym of Jean Lenglet), the sculptor and writer Leo Braat, the sculptor Johan Polet, and the painters Jan Wiegers and Matthieu Wiegman. The editorial board’s address was at Leo Braat’s studio on the Zomerdijkstraat. Graphic artist Piet Worm did the typography and design during the first two years of publication. Kleijn is said to have received advertising commissions from Worm. The members of this artists group exhibited their work regularly in the De Uitkijk movie theatre. Kleijn’s photos were also exhibited here in the form of a slide presentation. He also made the cover for the Uitkijk’s programme magazine. Kleijn worked for various clients, with designs carried out for companies such as Merkenbureau (‘Trademark Office’) Van der Graaff & Co., Boek- en steendrukkerij (‘Book and Lithographic Printing House’) PJ. Mulder & Zoon in Leiden, the corset manufacturer Hunkemöller Lexis, de Nationale Levensverzekeringsbank (‘National Life Insurance Bank’) in Rotterdam, and the Amsterdamsche Mij. Van Levensverzekering ‘Amstleven’ (‘Amsterdam Company of Life Insurance “Amstleven”‘). For ‘Co-op 2’, the advertising agency established by Paul Guermonprez and Hajo Rose, Kleijn produced photos and illustrations for a publication on seaside resorts in the Netherlands.

With many of Kleijn’s other designs—both in brochure and poster format—it is not known which works were done on commission, and if so, whether they were ever accepted and/or realised.

Kleijn’s most important clients during this period—1934 to 1937—were the ‘Raden van Arbeid’ (‘Councils of Labour’). Kleijn produced a calendar for four consecutive years on behalf of this organisation. In these calendars, he combined different techniques, incorporating individual photos and photomontages, and as well varying the placement of numbers and letters for each month. In 1936, he produced a stand for the same clients at the ‘Jaarbeurs’ (the convention centre) in Utrecht, in collaboration with Willem Sandberg. The stand consisted of a column with photos, wall sign posters showing statistics of company safety measures and labour accidents, and a wheel that featured a photo of Jan Luyken and accident data. Sandberg’s display statistics bear a strong resemblance to work conducted by the Viennese sociologist and economist Otto Neurath, who had designed such a display under the name ‘Isotype’, an acronym for ‘International System of Typographic Picture Education’.

Kleijn’s collaboration with the publishing company ‘Contact’ began in 1936. According to Boltendal (1965), it was likely Chris Blom, the technical editor of the magazine Het Kind (‘The Child’), who introduced Kleijn to the publisher. Gilles de Neve, Contact’s founder, had hired Chris Blom as a business partner in 1936. With this move, De Neve also added Blom’s magazine Het Fundament (‘The Foundation’) to his own publishing company. Contact published books that were politically engaged and aimed at breaking taboos, such as Het seksuele leven van de mens (‘The Sexual Life of Man’) by Fritz Kahn and Veensoldaten (‘Peat Soldiers’) by Wolfgang Langhoff. It was especially De Neve who wished to break with convention, as well in the area of photography. It was his desire to publish photobooks in a style that was relatively new to the Netherlands, with the text subordinate to the photos. The title of the series, De schoonheid van ons land (‘The Beauty of our Country’), was conceived by Chris Blom. Kleijn photographed the landscape and the cities, the people and their work. Contact’s notion of making ‘propaganda’ on behalf of its own country was derived from a commercial insight into the possibilities that came with the growing tourism industry. It was also related to the more general trend of reinforcing nationalistic sentiment in the 1930s. Kleijn was commissioned to take photos of the Netherlands and to design the bindings and book jackets for the photobook series. Five of the first six books are primarily filled with photographs. To realise this project, Kleijn travelled across the country for the period of a year, photographing everything that he perceived as typically Dutch. One could call this work an iconography of all that was appealing from a tourist’s point of view: the water with its light and reflections, charm and violence, the vast polder and its industriousness, old traditional artisanship and regional attire. These are subjects that still to this day serve to represent what draws people to the Netherlands. Kleijn always chose his camera angle and light in a manner that the most characteristic aspect of his subject was accentuated. He emphasised the play of lines in a signal post or a landscape, discovered rhythm in boats and trees, and saw repeating patterns in water and wash lines. Kleijn shared his preference for water with his eldest brother, who also appeared in a photo in Van Texel tot Walcheren (‘From Texel to Walcheren’). The volume Amsterdam looks more modern than the others—a product not only of the subject, but also of the way in which this particular book was approached. The city with its tramlines, canals, and modern architecture provided more opportunities for the bird’s eye view and diagonals in the compositions. In Amsterdam, Kleijn primarily used his 35-mm camera, which allowed him to take photos more spontaneously.

Photographs were allocated a prominent place from the initial conception of the project. Photography and text were separated: the printed photos, sometimes filling a single page, formed their own independent narrative. Their placement was largely determined by visual rhyme, rhythm, and opposing lines of view. Kleijn’s prestige was so substantial that he was asked to retouch and adjust photos taken by other photographers. Following his death, Cees Oorthuys continued the series in collaboration with other photographers. The pre-war books were published once again in 1941 in an edition that comprised two volumes, Het landschap (‘The Landscape’) and De steden (‘The Cities’).

In his own day, Kleijn was a pioneer in his profession, both as an advertising photographer and designer. Contemporary design was an absolute must. During the 1930s, this essentially meant that one had to follow the ‘rules’ and achievements of developments in New Objectivism and New Photography. In his advertising work, Kleijn applied these rules in his design: a high degree of sharpness in conveying the details of materials, close-ups, dynamic lines, unexpected—almost impossible—angles, and a tendency towards abstraction. Kleijn also liked to combine photography and typography.

In a certain sense, the promotional value of the photos that Kleijn produced for the Contact printing company was also important. While the ideology of New Photography was not entirely forgotten, Kleijn’s preference was still for a design that was not too emphatically modern, in order to allow greater space for the ambience, the experience of beauty, as well as the natural and poetic representation of reality. With Kleijn, image crops are never very abrupt. Composition and subject are always in harmony. An unexpected camera angle for a shot taken from below adds intensity to the detail of a seventeenth-century facade, weight to a statue of Michiel de Ruyter, or an impression of never-ending vastness to the Dutch water landscape.

The diagonal line is a compositional element that Kleijn uses to capture people in motion, rather than to depict speed. When women are washing clothes along the embankment or when a dike is being built—’just like that’—across the water, it is this kind of composition that he prefers.

Light is an important visual tool for Kleijn. In photos with waves of sand, water, or ears of wheat, it is the rhythmic pattern of the areas of light that form the photo’s actual motif. The same applies to the reflections of light in the water that one frequently encounters, as well as backlit shots showing strong contrasts. Silhouettes eliminate unnecessary details and emphasise the characteristic forms, or the volume, of a figure or object.

Karel Kleijn used various cameras, including a Leica 35 mm camera and a 9×12 technical (Linhof) camera. For enlargements, he used the entire negative. When Kleijn ventured out with his 35 mm camera, he typically took two to four shots for any one subject. He was quite accurate, with each roll usually turning up four to five photos that were usable for the series De schoonheid van ons land. In dynamic situations, e.g. traffic in the city, he took a larger number of shots in order to capture that photo with a slightly better composition. In large format, as a rule, he took only one shot—sometimes two—per subject. Exceptions are a number of portrait series, as well as Kleijn’s series that had the character of reportage work, such as his photos of the newly built studios of the AVRO broadcasting company or Johan Polet working on the bust of Henri Deterding. Occasionally, Kleijn applied a method that first entailed taking several shots of his subject with his 35 mm camera, and after this, photographing the ‘definitive’ image in large format, specifically 9×12. In the reviews of his day, Kleijn’s technical finishing was highly praised.

In his oeuvre of graphic art, Kleijn implemented various techniques. Some of his designs are drawn, spray painted, or painted in their entirety. Others consist of a photographic image only (single or combined), with or without the addition of typography. Finally, there is also a category in which he combines photography with images that have been drawn or painted.

Kleijn was a hard worker who practiced his profession with tremendous enthusiasm. This explains how he managed to become a fairly successful photographer in such a short period of time, without any previous training. Kleijn had too little time to fully develop his personal style in the one area he likely cherished most: poster design. The various stylistic influences that can be recognised in Kleijn’s work—ranging from Cassandre to New Typography and the ‘typo-photo’—make it impossible to categorise his oeuvre under any one heading. Kleijn’s use of objects and typography in his designs is usually functional and clear, but sometimes excessive. In his reportage work for the series De schoonheid van ons land, his photography is in line with contemporary amateur photography. A theme such as the (urban) landscape, which is the key component in this series of photobooks, had become an area practiced almost exclusively by amateur photographers. Despite his engagement in innovative artistic trends, Kleijn never rejected the predominant stylistic and aesthetic approaches found in amateur photography outright. When one examines not just the part of his work that has been published, but his oeuvre in its entirety, it is evident that Kleijn not only had a keen eye for picturesque scenes, but also for aspects of form found in New Photography, including diagonals, close-ups, and prints with high contrasts. This synthesis between modern design and a more traditional atmospheric representation is characteristic of Kleijn’s work.


Primary bibliography

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


Brochures, reclamefolders, -kaarten, menu’s, etc. voor onder meer:

Amsterdamsche Mij. Van Levensverzekering “Amstleven”, Amsterdam.

Atlanta Garage, Amsterdam.

Bruynzeel’s vloerenfabriek, Zaandam.

Circus Carvalhos.

Merkenbureau Van der Graaff & Co., Amsterdam.

Corsettenmagazijnen Hunkemöller Lexis.

Vatenfabriek Van Leer, Amsterdam.

Boek- en steendrukkerij P.J. Mulder & Zoon, Leiden.

Nationale levensverzekerings-bank, Rotterdam.

Kistenfabriek “De Phoenix”, Halfweg.

Stoomvaart Maatschappij “Nederland”.

Filmtheater “De Uitkijk”, Amsterdam.

Focus 13 (11 december 1926) 25, p. 662.

Focus 19 (28 mei 1932) 11, p. 332.

Het landhuis 28 juni 1933.

Kalenders Vereeniging van Raden van Arbeid 1934-1937, Amsterdam 1933-1936.

Jan D. Voskuil, Een huis vol…kleuters, in Op de Hoogte juni 1934, p. 172-179.

G.A. van Poelje (voorw.), Van Texel tot Walcheren, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1936], p. 2, 23, 26, 34-35, 38-41, 43, 46-49. 54-57. 73. 80 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel I).

P.J. Mijksenaar e.a. (tekst) Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1936] , p. 3, 5-9, 12-17, 22, 23, 30-37, 39-42, 46-52, 54-55, 58-59. 61, 64-65, 68-71, 74-76, 78, 80, 83-87 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel II) (idem Engelse ed.: Amsterdam. lts beauty and character, z.j).

Johan Polet, Beeldhouwkunst en publieke belangstelling in Nederland, in Kroniek van hedendaagsche kunst en kultuur 1 (1936) 6, p. 166-167.

Aug. Cuypers, Matthieu Wiegman, in Kroniek van hedendaagsche kunst en kultuur 1 (1936) 7, p. 201.

ABC oktober 1936.

Anoniem, De technische ontstaanswijze van een beeldhouwwerk. De vervaardiging van het borstbeeld van Sir Henry Deterding door den Amsterdamschen beeldhouwer Johan Polet, in Op de Hoogte 33 (oktober 1936) 10, p. 312-314.

Algemeen Handelsblad 25 oktober 1936.

Algemeen Handelsblad 1 november 1936.

Algemeen Handelsblad 8 november 1936.

Katholieke Illustratie 10 december 1936, p. 388.

Jac.P. Thijsse (tekst), Hei en bos, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1937], p. 2-3, 8, 14, 16, 24, 30-33, 38-41, 44, 46-47, 53-53, 66-68, 71, 76-77, 80 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel III).

P.H. Ritter en H.N. ter Veen (tekst), Rondom de Zuiderzee, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1937], p. 1-2, 6-10, 12-15, 18-37. 39-43. 45. 47. 52-57. 61, 64-72 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel IV).

S.J.R. de Monchy (voorw.), De residentie, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1937], p. 2, 3, 5-12, 15, 18, 20-25, 27-28 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel V).

W. Sandberg (red.), Les Pays-Bas et les Indes Néeriandaises, Amsterdam 1937, p. 1, 2b, 5, 13b-c, 15b, 25, 27b, 27d, 28a, 28c, 29b, 30, 33.

W. de Vlugt (voorw.), Gids voor Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Contact) 1937.

Anoniem, Het portret in de Hollandsche Beeldhouwkunst, in Kroniek van hedendaagsche kunst en kultuur 2 (1937) 3, p. 67, 70.

Photographie Arts et Métiers 1938, afb. 88.

Kalender Uitgeverij Contact 1939, Amsterdam 1938.

Kees Hana e.a. (tekst), Polder en waterland, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1941 ], afb. 4, 18, 22-24, 28, 39 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel VII).

Walter Brandligt e.a. (tekst), Het landschap, Amsterdam (Contact) geheel herz. en verm. uitg. 1941, p. 1-7, 14-15, 17, 20-23, 45, 47, 50-52, 56, 60, 71-72, 75, 83, 88, 99, 102-103, 106, 108, 111-113, 117-121, 124-125, 153-154, 156-158, 160-165, 167-169, 171, 174-177, 182-184 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel I).

W.J. van Balen e.a. (tekst), De steden, Amsterdam (Contact) geheel herz. en verm. uitg. 1941, afb. 1-3, 5-11, 13-17, 23, 25. 28-31, 34-40, 42-46, 48, 49, 51-54, 56, 58, 60-75, 80-82, 84-86, 146-147, 149-157, 159-161 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land, deel II).

Wij, ons werk ons leven 7 (7 maart 1941) 5.

Katholieke Illustratie 13 november 1941, omslag.

Norman Phillips en J. Nikerk, Holland and the Canadians, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. [1946], p. 21-23 (idem Nederlandse editie: Nederland-Canada).

Johan Luger (inl.), Nederland. Zoals de toerist het ziet/The Netherlands. Seen by the tourist, Amsterdam/Antwerpen (Contact) 1947.

Walter Brandligt (tekst), Het landschap, Amsterdam/Antwerpen (Contact) 1948, afb. 2-3a, 26, 31, 39, 47-48, 59, 64, 77, 84, 108, 117-118, 128 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land. Land en volk, deel III).

J.T.P. Bijhouwer e.a. (tekst), De steden, Amsterdam/Antwerpen (Contact) 1951, afb. 27-28, 97, 104 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land. Land en volk, deel X).

Eduard Meer en A.M. van de Waal, Prentenboek van Amsterdam, Amsterdam (De Arbeiderspers) 1957, ongepag.

Manfred Bock e.a., Van het Nieuwe Bouwen naar een nieuwe Architectuur.

Groep 32. Ontwerpen, gebouwen, stedebouwkundige plannen 1925-1945, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1983, p. 65 (serie: Cahiers van het Nederlands Documentatiecentrum voor de Bouwkunst 5).

Perspektief (september 1986) 25, p. 14-15.

Rudy Kousbroek (inl.), 66 zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen, Den Haag (Nicolaas Henneman Stichting) 1989, afb. 14.

Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a. (tekst), Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw/The decisive image: Dutch photography from the 20th century, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 120.

Hubertien J.E. Hermans, Een monster loert… De collectie historische volksgezondheidsaffiches van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Amsterdam (Vossiuspers UvA) 2007, p. 90.

Secondary bibliography

(publicaties over de fotograaf en/of zijn werk)


Anoniem, Wedstrijd “Camera Obscura” Haarlem, in Focus 13 (13 november 1926) 23, p. 593.

Anoniem, Onze platen, in Focus 13 (11 december 1926) 25, p. 648.

Anoniem, Uitslag wedstrijd “Lichtweek” Haarlem, in Focus 18 (5 december 1931) 25, p. 701.

Anoniem, Focusprijsvraag “De Brug”, in Focus 19 (6 februari 1932) 3, p. 66.

Anoniem, Uitslag “Focus” prijsvraag “Vrije onderwerpen” maart 1932, in Focus 19 (19 maart 1932) 6, p. 162.

Anoniem, Bij de platen, in Focus 19 (28 mei 1932) 11, p. 317-318.

Nico de Haas, Een fotoboek van ons Nederlandse strand. “Van Texel tot Walcheren”, in Het Volk 13 augustus 1936.

Anoniem, Wat betekent sociale verzekering? Onbekendheid brengt schade, in Het Volk 4 september 1936.

D.B. [= Dick Boer], Onze boekenkast. “Van Texel tot Walcheren” [recensie], in Focus 23 (7 november 1936) 23, p. 697.

Anoniem, De Amsterdamsche week. Weder een boek over Amsterdam. Het tweede deel van ‘De Schoonheid van ons Land’, in Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant 28 november 1936.

C., Iets over een Amsterdammer. In klein bestek naar aanleiding van het nieuwe boek ‘Amsterdam’, in Op de Hoogte 33 (december 1936)12, p. 390-391.

Anoniem, Nieuwe kalenders, in Het Volk 1 december 1936.

Anoniem, Onze boekenkast. “Amsterdam” [recensie], in Focus 23 (5 december 1936) 25, p. 751.

Anoniem, Van Texel tot Walcheren. Prachtige foto’s van ons kustgebied, in De Telegraaf 13 december 1936, p. 6.

Anoniem, Nederlandsche Hei en Bosch. De schoonheid van ons land. Deel III.

“Hei en Bos”. Uitgeverij Contact. A’dam, in De Telegraaf 12 september 1937.

Anoniem, Onze boekenkast. “Hei en Bosch” [recensie], in Focus 24 (9 oktober 1937) 21, p. 594.

G.P. de Neve, ‘Karel Kleijn f’, in Kroniek van hedendaagsche kunst en kuituur 3 (1937) 1, p. 13-!5.

Anoniem, “De Schoonheid van ons land” nu voltooid. Een fotoboek “rondom de Zuiderzee”, in Het Volk 3 december 1937.

Anoniem, Onze boekenkast. “De schoonheid van ons land”. Deel IV. Rondom de Zuiderzee [recensie], in Focus 25 (1 januari 1938) 1,p. 10.

Jan W. Kesler, De moderne fotografie en het stadsbeeld, in Toeristenkampioen 3 (22 januari 1938) 4, p.123-126 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Onze boekenkast. “De Residentie” [recensie], in Focus 25 (12 februari 1938) 4, p. 130.

Anoniem, Onze boekenkast. Fotokalender Karel Kleyn, in Focus 25 (3 december 1938) 25, p. 749.

R. Boltendal, Boekmakers. Portretten van uitgevers, Amsterdam (Moussault) 1965, p. 110.

P.L. Gerritse, Van arbeid en groei. Uit de geschiedenis van de Vereeniging van Raden van Arbeid. 1920-1940, Amsterdam (Vereeniging van Raden van Arbeid) 1965, p. 177.

Flip Bool en Kees Broos (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1920-1940, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 60, 95, 122-128, 142, 152 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegeling in Nederland van ca. 1840 tot heden, Nijmegen (Nijmeegs Museum ‘Commanderie van Sint-Jan’) 1983, p. 15, 88.

Flip Bool en Kees Broos, De Nieuwe Fotografie in Nederland, Amsterdam/Den Haag/Naarden (Fragment/SDU/V+K Publishing) 1989, p. 40, 99, 104 (met foto’s).

Adriaan Elligens, Alles op zijn plaats. De foto’s van Jaap d’Oliveira, Hans Spies, Jan Versnel, Haarlem (Joh. Enschede en Zonen) 1990, p. 8, 76.

Flip Bool e.a. (red.), Nieuwe geschiedenis van de fotografie in Nederland. Dutch Eyes, Zwolle (Waanders i.s.m. Stichting Fotografie in Nederland) 2007, p. 198-199, 204,212,432,466 (met foto’s).

Annika Hendriksen, Geluid in beeld, in Joke Pronk en Tineke de Ruiter (samenstelling), Fotovoorkeuren. 50 auteurs kiezen een foto uit de collectie van het Leids Prentenkabinet, Amsterdam (Voetnoot) 2007, p. 68-71.


Fotoclub Camera Obscura, Haarlem vanaf 1926.


1926 Tweede prijs (10 gulden), 1e Lustrum Fotowedstrijd A.F.V. “Camera Obscura” te Haarlem.

1931 Bekroning (prijs van 10 gulden) Wedstrijd ‘Lichtweek’, Haarlem.

1932 Eervolle vermelding, Focusprijsvraag ‘De Brug’.

1932 Eervolle vermelding, Focusprijsvraag ‘Vrije Onderwerpen’.


1937 (e) Amsterdam, De Uitkijk, Muurprojectie: foto ‘s Karel Kleijn.

1937 (g) Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum foto ’57.

1937 (g) Parijs, L’Exposition Internationale. Arts et Techniques dans la Vie moderne [section Néerlandaise].

1979/1980 (g) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Foto 20-40.

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

1986 (g) Rotterdam, ‘Westersingel 8’, Nederlandse Architectuurfotografie 1930-1960.

2007 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Dutch Eyes. Een nieuwe geschiedenis van de fotografie in Nederland.


Heiloo, Mevr. G. Lücker-Wiegman, mondelinge informatie.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.

Leiden, Annika Hendriksen (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie kunstgeschiedenis: Karel Kleijn. Fotograaf en ontwerper 1911-1937, Universiteit Leiden 2006).

Leusden, Jan Wingender (collectie Nederlands fotoboek).

Utrecht, Rik Suermondt (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie kunstgeschiedenis: De fotoboeken van Uitgeverij Contact, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht 1987).


Amsterdam, Stadsarchief Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum (foto’s uit het archief van Contact).

Haarlem, Spaarnestad Photo.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek

Leiden (afdrukken, negatieven en ontwerpen voor reclamedrukwerk).

Rotterdam, Nederlands Architectuurinstituut (archief architect Auke Komter).