Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur

The collection at Fotomuseum Winterthur consists of international artistic positions from the 1960s up to the immediate present. Through purchases that are closely linked to the museum’s contemporary exhibition programme as well as through generous gifts and permanent loans, around 9,000 photographic objects have joined the collection to date.

Thematic Focuses

The collection has the following thematic focuses:

  • Documentary narrative photography, or “post-journalistic documentary photography” (Florian Ebner), as exemplified by such protagonists as Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Boris Mikhailov and Max Pinckers, has been a characteristic feature of the collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur ever since it was founded in 1993.
  • Conceptual art photography that reflects on or critiques the media became a main focus with the acquisition of the Jedermann Collection that comprises some 300 works by 60 artistic positions from the period 1960–90, including Sarah Charlesworth, Victor Burgin, Sherrie Levine and Hans-Peter Feldmann.
  • Acquisitions of works by young photographers. The museum has been systematically tracking the work of the new generation of emerging artists via the annual portfolio-viewing Plat(t)form (since 2007) and SITUATIONS (2015–2021) and included it in its collection.


  • Post-photographic works that challenge, reflect on and extend the notion of the photographic and its artistic and social practices, representational modes and media forms. This has become another of the museum’s priorities since its focus was recalibrated in 2015 in response to the increasing circulation of photographic media and images under digital conditions.
  • The collection of ephemera: this includes printed objects such as brochures, pamphlets, posters and postcards that are less concerned with being “works” in themselves and yet are expressive, nonetheless, of artistic ideas. Their presence in the collection constitutes an active challenge, calling into question the status accorded to an “artwork” and casting doubt on concepts like authorship.

Collection Revisited

As part of Collection Revisited, Fotomuseum Winterthur is making a detailed study of individual works and artists featured in the museum’s collection. This involves an analysis of the backgrounds of the works and the histories of their creation – a process of contextualisation and critical interrogation. The focus is on key issues that the museum regularly encounters in its curatorial and educational work with photographic images.

Loan Requests

From a coordination point of view, it is helpful if requests are received at the earliest possible opportunity so that they can be processed in good time. Requests should be submitted to Fotomuseum Winterthur at least four months prior to the planned exhibition opening. Acknowledgement of receipt will be sent out no later than five business days after the formal request has arrived.

Requests should be submitted to Fotomuseum Winterthur at the latest 21 days before the date scheduled for discussion of possible loans. If the request is submitted later than this, it will be considered at the next loan meeting. These meetings will take place on the following dates in 2023 (subject to change without prior notice):

  • 14.02.2024 (submission deadline: 24.01.2024)
  • 15.05.2024 (submission deadline: 24.04.2024)
  • 21.08.2024 (submission deadline: 31.07.2024)
  • 20.11.2024 (submission deadline: 30.10.2024)

Notification of the decision of the loan committee will be sent out no later than 14 days after the meeting.

Documents to be submitted with the formal request

An initial formal request should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Fully completed form with details of the institution and the requested work(s) (please download form ‘Loan Request’)
  • Signed copy of complete facility report for the exhibition venue

Conditions to be fulfilled with respect to the exhibition venue

The exhibition venue should fulfill the following criteria:

  • The venue must have a 24-hour HVAC system that controls temperature and relative humidity and can maintain the requisite conditions for the work(s) to be loaned. A stable indoor climate for the work(s) must be ensured.
  • The exhibition spaces should be equipped with an adjustable system that allows the lighting levels to be regulated to suit the requirements of the requested work(s).
  • These spaces should have a 24-hour surveillance and alarm system and be equipped with fire detectors.
  • An up-to-date facility report for the venue should be provided.

Conditions stipulated by Fotomuseum Winterthur

  • The loan contract will be drawn up by Fotomuseum Winterthur. In general, the duration of the loan covers the period from four weeks prior to the exhibition opening to four weeks after its conclusion.
  • The borrowing institution must be cognisant of Fotomuseum Winterthur’s ‘Loan Contract and Guidelines’ and submit a signed copy of this document.
  • The loan must be insured under the terms of Fotomuseum Winterthur’s art insurance policy.
  • Transportation of the work(s) must be agreed with Fotomuseum Winterthur and carried out by an art shipping company. The borrowing institution is responsible for all costs relating to packing, transporting and insuring the work(s).
  • Fotomuseum Winterthur will generate a written report on the condition of the work(s) before and after the loan. The borrowing institution is required to check the condition of the work(s) on the basis of the appended report when the work is collected and when it is returned at the end of the loan period.

We look forward to working with you!