Family of Man
« The greatest photographic exhibition of all times » created by Edward Steichen in 1955 for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York
In 1951, in the middle of the cold war, the American photographer of Luxembourgian descent, Edward J. Steichen, began with the preparations for his great plan of an exhibition making man conscious of himself through the universal language of photography. To realize his plan, he invited professional and amateur photographers to send in their works. Steichen received about four million pictures from all over the world. He and his assistant Wayne Miller selected 503 pictures by 273 photographers from 68 countries: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Dorothea Lange, Robert Doisneau, August Sander ... together they compose The Family of Man.
The pictures were presented in an impressive setting of 37 themes, based on love and faith in man, depicting birth, work and family, education, children, war and peace ... the exhibition was a tremendous success.
In the 1950s and the 1960s the exhibition travelled around the world, drawing more than nine million visitors in. In 1964, at the end of the collection's journey, the American government gave it as a present to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. It had been Edward Steichen's wish that "the most important work of his life" should be permanently housed in Luxembourg.
The exhibition was restored by the Centre national de l'audiovisuel (CNA - Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg). Following the expert's report by Anne Cartier-Bresson of the Ateliers de restauration des photographies in Paris the decision was made to restore the photographs which had been damaged during their long journey. The task was entrusted to Silvia Berselli and her team, who restored the complete collection in 2000 man-hours.
The natural consequence of all these efforts was the ambitious idea to bring back the photographs to the Château de Clervaux, ensuring the necessary conditions for the long-term protection of the photographs and preserving as much as possible the original setting and characteristic presentation.
The exhibition is reinstalled definitively in the Château de Clervaux since 1994 and has been added to the Register of the Memory of the World by the UNESCO in 2003.
THE CNA and the Family of Man
The collection "The Family of Man" is placed under the Governance of the CNA, which is one of the cultural institutes of the Ministry of Culture.
CNA - Centre national de l'audiovisuel
headquater of CNA
1b, rue du Centenaire
The exhibition "The Family of Man" is shown in the castle of Clervaux:
+352 92 96 57