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Simon (Michael and Carol) collection of Hungarian photography
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Michael and Carol Simon collection of Hungarian photography
    Date (inclusive): 1850s-2009
    Number: 2011.M.8
    Creator/Collector: Simon, Michael
    Physical Description: 29.3 Linear Feet (38 boxes, 1 flat-file folder)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Assembled by Michael Simon during his research on Hungarian photography, this extensive collection of photographs documents the development of the medium with a range of photographic processes and the history of the art form in Hungary. Through photography the collection also documents Hungary's tumultuous history over the course of almost 150 years.
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    Language: Collection material is in Hungarian and English.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Michael Simon, collector, art historian and photographer, was born in 1936 in Budapest, Hungary. His father died during World War II, and he and his mother emigrated to the United States in 1956. He studied at the Technical University of Budapest and Pennsylvania State University. Michael Simon married his wife, Carol in 1961. Simon worked in advertising as an editorial photographer before accepting a position as professor of art at Beloit College, Wisconsin, in 1968 where he taught courses on photography. Simon then earned his Masters of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology and eventually became chairman of the department of Art & Art History at Beloit. During a sabbatical from Beloit College in 1977, Simon began his project to comprehensively research the history of Hungarian photography. He interviewed photographers and visited many libraries and museum collections, nationally and internationally. Over 25 years, his research resulted in a significant collection of photographs by Hungarian photographers. Often the photographs were gifts from an artist or an institution. Simon's research culminated in the publication of his book, Összehasonltó Magyar Fotótörténet.
    Simon's other accomplishments include teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago as a visiting artist. He served in the Midwest Region of The Society for Photographic Education and eventually chaired the national association.
    Simon also has maintained a personal photography practice which has continued throughout his academic career. His work has been exhibited regularly.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, except audio visual materials, which are unavailable until reformatted.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Michael and Carol Simon collection of Hungarian photography, 1850s-2009, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2011.M.8

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Michael and Carol Simon. Acquired in 2011.

    Processing History

    The collection was processed and cataloged by Laura Schroffel in 2013.

    Digital Collection

    Selected items from Sereis II. have been digitized. Connect to digital collection.   Digital images are provided for study purposes only and are available only to on-site readers and Getty staff.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection chronicles the history of photography in Hungary for over one hundred years through photographs taken by both celebrated and lesser-known photographers. The Simons built the collection over 25 years while conducting research on the history of Hungarian photography. It is one of the most extensive collections of Hungarian photography outside of Hungary.
    Series I is the photograph collection containing work by over 1,000 photographs. Photographers represented include: Tamás Féner, Károly Hemző, Kata Kálmán, György Klösz, Péter Korniss, József Pécsi, Pál Rosti and Ernő Vadas. Photographic subjects range from landscape, cityscape, portraiture, and abstraction to candid moments of suffering, labor and celebration. Photographic processes include gelatin silver, albumen, and chromogenic prints and color slides. A number of cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards are also included in the collection. Simon accessioned each photograph in his collection assigning a "mat number" as a unique identification for each work.
    Series II comprises the bulk of Simon's research on Hungarian photography including his meticulous research indices. His correspondence and audio interviews with photographers and historians are filed here. Parts of Simon's typescript are retained in this series as well as correspondence relating to securing photograph copyrights, editing and publishing of the book. Series II also contains ephemera spanning 60 years, including exhibition announcements and small gallery publications for Hungarian photographers, and a number of recorded class lectures.


    Arranged in two series: Series I. Photographs, 1850s-1990; Series II. Papers, 1932-2009.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Photography -- Hungary -- History
    Photography, Artistic
    Photographs -- Collectors and collecting
    Photographers -- Hungary -- Interviews

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Cabinet photographs
    Color photographs
    Albumen prints
    Color slides
    Gelatin silver prints


    Rosti, Pál
    Pécsi, Józef
    Vadas, Ernő
    Simon, Carol
    Albertini, Béla
    Simon, Michael
    Féner, Tamás
    Erdélyi, Mór
    Angelo Funk, Pál
    Kincses, Károly
    Hemző, Károly
    Kálmán, Kata
    Klösz, György
    Korniss, Péter