Eadweard Muybridge, The Horse in Motion, 1882, 1st edition, English, cloth cover
As some of you know, Manfred Heiting’s extensive photobook collection was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in 2012 and was destined for their Hirsch Library. His photobook collection was approximately 22,000 volumes, of which 5,828 photobooks were relocated to the museum while the remainder resided at Heiting’s residence in Malibu, California.
The recently Woolsey fire in Southern California swept through parts of Malibu and recent reports are that Heiting’s residence and the remaining collection was impacted.
This is the statement from MFAH (issued 11-21-18)
On Friday, November 16, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Gary Tinterow received a message from collector Manfred Heiting. Mr. Heiting reported that he had learned that his Malibu house and collections had been destroyed in the Woolsey fire, including most likely books, photographs and ceramics that were destined for the Museum. Thankfully Mr. Heiting and his wife, Hanna, were not on the property and are safe. Neither of them has been able to see the property to verify the extent of damage.
In 2012, the Museum had committed to the acquisition of these collections, still in formation, with an agreement that they would ultimately be transferred to Houston by 2023. These include 22,000 books related to the history of photography, and approximately 100 photographs. Since 2012, Mr. Heiting has been in the process of cataloguing and photographing each volume that was destined for the Museum. This has been a years-long process that has already yielded authoritative scholarly publications on Soviet, Japanese, German and Czech photobooks. While 5,828 volumes have already been relocated to the Museum, the remainder are presumed destroyed. All of us at the Museum are profoundly saddened by this devastating loss to the field and to history. Until the extent of the damage has been determined, we will have no further comment.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that the results are not as bad as feared.
Note, the two titles included in this article are safely located at the MFAH Hirsch Library. Photo credits; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Man Ray, Photographs by Man Ray, 1979, 1st edition, English, cloth cover, paper dust jacket