Images of Art and Antiquity from the Werner Forman Archive at fotofringe

Werner Forman Archive press release – London – 21 April, 2017.

Werner Forman spent eight decades travelling around the world, photographing fascinating ancient artefacts, architecture and cultures. This material was published in over eighty books which he was the sole photographer, as well as collaborative books, TV programmes, advertisements and films. His life’s work is held by Werner Forman Archive. We have been following his global works with a series of articles. After his death a large collection of unpublished images were found, and are being integrated into the collection.



Recently we featured Colonialism, the Byzantine Empire and the Maori. This shows what a wide range of ancient cultures he was interested in. Spanning the Celts, to the Islamic world, religions, mythology, and rare collections that include masks, puppets, amulets, symbols, erotica, textiles, manuscripts, coins, Tantric art and jewellery.

Werner Forman Archive will be exhibiting their image collection at fotofringe in central London on April 27th

Werner’s career started when he released a book on Chinese Art in Czech collections in 1954, with his brother Bedrich as designer. This was an international bestseller, and as a result, the Chinese authorities invited them to spend two months visiting museums and holding seminars for Chinese photographers.


This was the launching point for a career documenting ancient art from all over the world. He contributed to many individual books and series such as the 15 volume set Echoes of the Ancient World.


Inevitably these adventures involved some brushes with death – he was nearly swept out to sea in Ghana, a truck chopped off the top of his car in New Zealand, and he was in the habit of clambering over unsafe ancient monuments to get the best image. However something protected him from harm, and he returned to deliver the photography.

After his demise in 2010 thousands of forgotten or undeveloped images were found in his belongings. With the help of expert scholars, many have been identified, captioned and catalogued, and are now in the Archive.


Barbara Heller, Director, Werner Forman Archive says, “We have an outstanding collection of images of art, archaeology, architecture and artefacts of primitive cultures, with extensive captioning by academic experts in the appropriate field.”


The collection prides itself on comprehensive and accurate captions to images, which are provided by experts in the fields of archaeology, art and history.


Werner Forman Archive is a major treasury of images of ancient art, antiquities, culture and landscapes. They will be attending fotofringe in London on 27th April at table 24 in the Battlebridge Room.


To contact them or book an appointment phone 020 7267 1034 or email

©Werner Forman Archive