Speaking: Françoise Pennings
Harry Pennings (1935-2006) started a photography gallery in the back of his furniture store in Eindhoven in 1979. The first exhibition opened in April, at Easter, with work by Hans Biezen and Ralph Gibson. The opening was performed by Rudi Fuchs, then director of the Van Abbemuseum.
(Galerie Pennings is not the first, but the oldest, still existing photo gallery in the Netherlands. Gallery Fiolet (later Olympus Gallery) started in Amsterdam in 1974, followed that same year by Canon Photo Gallery. In 1980 Galerie Perspektief opened in Rotterdam, in 1982 Galerie Ton Peek in Utrecht and in 1985 Galerie Fotomania in Leiden (later in Rotterdam). What is special is that from the start, Harry Pennings was interested in photography as a form of autonomous art and showed this in his gallery. IvB)
“Harry Pennings was an interior designer and had a furniture shop in modern furniture from Italian and German brands, including Interlübke. He had taken over the business from his father, who had started a business on Geldropseweg with his own furniture, but also sold modern Dutch brands such as Artifort and Pastoe.”
“Originally on the Geldropseweg were workers' houses with deep gardens. Harry's father had bought three plots. At number 61 he started a furniture store. Later Harry bought a plot. A renovation followed and in 1979 the furniture store expanded with the larger building at number 63. In the covered patio between buildings 61 and 63 he started a photography gallery.”
“Harry himself was an enthusiastic amateur photographer. Two photos of him are included in the photography collection of Leiden University and one in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.”
“In 1994 he handed over the furniture store to a successor, in order to be able to fully focus on the gallery. He moved the gallery to building 61B, on the first floor. Petra Cardinaal took over the gallery in 2006."
(A few months later, Harry died quite suddenly, after a short illness. In memory of him, Petra established the Harry Pennings Prize. The prize is intended to offer a stage to young talent. Sunday, April 14, 2019, it was awarded for the fifth time. The winner was Marwan Bassiouni.
On this day, Galerie Pennings celebrated its 40th anniversary, but also the official transition to a foundation, the Pennings Foundation. To be able to develop more activities, the foundation moved a year ago to the large building at 63, back to the location where the furniture store had been for years. IvB)
“For the first exhibition, Harry chose work by Hans Biezen and Ralph Gibson. Hans Biezen was one of his friends and Harry admired his photos. Hans regularly photographed his wife Jet. She worked in the catering of the Van Abbemuseum. Hans also worked for the Van Abbe, where he photographed the exhibitions. Harry came into contact with other photographers via Biezen. Peter Paul Geurts helped Harry create exhibitions. His friend Jan Buster, also an enthusiastic amateur photographer, also helped with organizing exhibitions and making selections. According to Jan Buster, Harry