Max van Berchem collection

Avenches, Stadtansicht Grande Rue, 1899
The arcades of the Grande Rue in Avenches (1899).
© gemeinfrei

Maximilian van Berchem (1863–1921) was a passionate Orientalist, specialist in Islamic archaeology and photographer. Between 1886 and 1921 he travelled to Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Turkey to carry out research. At the turn of the 20th century, he also photographed buildings of art-historical importance in Switzerland.

Content and scope

  • Pictures of towns, villages and buildings of importance to architectural history (residential buildings, farmhouses, castles, churches, monasteries, bridges) in the period 1898 to 1907
  • Details and general views
  • 1,308 vintage prints on paper
  • 1,344 glass negatives

Collection principles

  • Max van Berchem was a member of the Swiss Society for the Preservation of Historic Art Monuments, a predecessor of the Federal Archives of Historic Monuments (FAHM).
  • Following his death in 1921, his photo collection therefore passed to the FAHM under the terms of his will.

Research and access

  • The Max van Berchem photo collection can be consulted online in the HelveticArchives database using a full text search and the search term “van Berchem”.
  • High-resolution images are freely available on Wikimedia Commons.
  • The originals can be viewed in the Prints and Drawings Department by prior appointment.

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Last modification 31.05.2022

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