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The Wendel Collection is probably the world's largest collection of Franco-Cantabrian cave art made by a single photographer. From 1964 up to his death in 1980 Heinrich Wendel was the lead setting designer at the Deutsche Oper in Düsseldorf and one of Germany's most famous stage designers. Designing space via light and projection was the core of his creative work. Driven by his artistic interests he travelled the Franco-Cantabrian region several times between 1964 and 1970, in search of inspiration from prehistoric cave art. All the time he proceeded in a highly professional way and worked with scientific precision following a uniform conception. He also took pictures in the non-public areas of the caves. In the course of time he generated an extensive photo library of about 3000 pictures. This photo library not only documents the state of preservation of the cave art in about 50 caves but also shows cave art from the perspective of the stage designer: Cave art 'mise en scène' by transforming a natural space into architecture, into a stage. More than 20 years after Heinrich Wendel's death this photo library was endowed on the Neanderthal Museum for scientific revision and conservation.

More information about Heinrich Wendel
Biography Heinrich Wendel
Heinrich Wendel the Artist
Heinrich Wendel and the Cave Art
Contemporary Witness
Heinrich Wendel and the Photo Documentation of Ice Age Cave Art

For further information
The Neanderthal Museum offers the following
articles based on the Wendel Collection:
Interactive CD "Cave Art of the Ice Age" (german/english)
DVD "Cave Art of the Ice Age" (german)

Pastoors, Andreas; Weniger, Gerd C. (2004): La collection Wendel: Archive en images de l'art pariétal paléolithique. The Wendel collection: A picture archive of ice age cave art. In: International Newsletter of Rock Art 40: 24-27. " (PDF)