Sudden death of artist photographer Michael Wolf

Today we received the shocking news that artist photographer Michael Wolf had died suddenly at home in Cheung Chau (Hong Kong).

The museum, and Dutch gallery owner Wouter van Leeuwen, wish to convey their sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to his wife Barbara and son Jasper.

In 2017 The Hague Museum of Photography produced Michael Wolf’s first major retrospective, Michael Wolf  - Life in Cities, in close collaboration with the artist himself. The exhibition premiered at the prestigious Les Rencontres de la Photographie festival in Arles, and then moved on to The Hague Museum of Photography (20 January – 22 April 2018), Fondazione Stelline in Milan ( 10 May – 22 July 2018) and Deichtorhallen Hamburg (17 November 2018 – 3 March 2019).

Michael Wolf was born in Munich in 1954. He grew up in the United States and Canada, but returned to Germany to study photography from 1972 to 1976 with Otto Steinert, the legendary professor at the Folkwang School in Essen. Wolf began his career as a photojournalist for Geo and Stern magazines. In 2003 he switched to autonomous photography, though his work always remained rooted in the tradition of socially engaged documentary photography. The central theme of his work is how people live in constantly changing metropolises.

Michael Wolf had lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1994. This city, with a population of over seven million, became his main source of inspiration. It was here that he created one of his most famous series, Architecture of Density (2003 – 2014).

Michael Wolf’s work features in many permanent collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Museum Folkwang in Essen, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Wolf won first prize in the World Press Photo competition in 2005 and 2010, and received an honourable mention in 2011. In 2010 and 2016 he was nominated for the Prix Pictet photography award.

Michael Wolf published more than thirty photobooks with leading publishers like Steidl and Thames & Hudson. Over the past ten years he worked closely with publisher Hannes Wanderer (1958-2018) of Peperoni Books in Berlin. They produced seventeen books together between 2009 and 2018. Some of them, including Tokyo Compression and Architecture of Density, have become bestselling classics in the recent history of photobooks.

The death of Michael Wolf means the loss of a gifted artist photographer, a very amiable man and a dear friend.

Wouter van Leeuwen (Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen), Wim van Sinderen (curator at The Hague Museum of Photography) and Benno Tempel (director of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag).

Photo: Gerrit Schreurs

If you have any questions or requests for images, please contact our PR department, Astrid Hulsmann, Ahulsmann@gemeentemuseum.nl / +316 48 114838