Peter Keetman


Peter Keetman Self-Portrait 1957


 Peter Keetman (* 27. April 1916 in Elberfeld , now part of Wuppertal ; † 8. March 2005 in Marquartstein , Bavaria ) was a German photographer .


Peter Keetman was born in 1916 as the son of a wealthy family in Elberfeld. His father Alfred Keetman, married to Käthe Simons, was consul and bank director of the banking firm J. Wichelhaus P. Sohn. [1] The house Keetman, which was abolished in 1981, was his birth and parents’ house.

He attended the Bayrische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen ( State Technical Academy for Fotodesign Munich ) from 1935 to 1937. Afterwards, he assisted for one year with the industrial and portrait photographer Gertrud Hesse in Duisburg and in the studio of the industrial photographer Carl-Heinz Schmeck in Aachen .

In 1940 he was summoned to defend himself, served as a soldier with the railway pioneers, and returned to the war in 1944, severely injured. After some years of assistantship and fellowship, he took his master’s test in Munich in 1948 . Keetman was a founding member of the fotoform group in 1949 and, as a freelance advertising photographer in the 1950s, influenced the direction that New Photography took.

One of his most famous works is a series about Volkswagen , where he exhibited very interesting and at that time revolutionary graphic views on assembly line technology, piles of metal parts and technical details during the construction of the beetle in the plant at the Mittellandkanal without order . His trademark was very detailed, introverted photos that are often close to the graphics and show a certain severity of emotion.

Peter Keetman lived with his wife Esa in Marquartstein in the Chiemgau ( Oberbayern ).

In the middle of 2016 the Museum Folkwang, together with the FC Gundlach Foundation, devoted the photographer on the occasion of his 100th birthday under the title of Designed World. A photographic work of art (3 June to 31 July) a comprehensive retrospective. Starting in November 2016, this exhibition will take place for three months at the House of Photography in Hamburg . [2]

Working Keetmans 


From 1948 Keetman is represented with pictures and portfolios in all relevant German photo magazines, later also in some international. In addition to this, many publications and illustrations in periodicals dealing with architecture, industrial photography, design, or graphics are the main themes of this book.


In the 3 Volumes on Subjective Photography, edited by Otto Steinert, Keetman’s works have a fixed and stylistic place. The same applies to the yearbooks The German photo (Editor Wolf Strache ) where Keetman is regularly published 1955-1979. Due to his participation, the exhibition catalogs of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner (GDL) have been a reliable reference point for his paintings since 1957.

Exhibition catalogs 

Peter Keetman, often together with other members of the group photoform , was listed in 1950 in most catalogs of the Photokina exhibition (Cologne). Further catalogs of important exhibitions with relevant participation are:

  • “Photoform”, Gallery Kicken, Cologne 1980
  • “Commission photography of the 1950s”, CCD-Galerie, Düsseldorf 1984
  • “Subjective photography – images of the 1950s”, San Francisco, Essen 1984
  • “Peter Keetman: Volkswagenwerk 1953 “, eds . By Gijs van Tuyl, Holger Broeker (Catalog of the exhibition in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg from 8 November 2003 to 22 February 2004), Wolfsburg 2003 (with a list of works, biography and extensive bibliography).

Books (Participation) 

  • Harald Busch (Hrsg.): The German Alpine Country . Frankfurt (Main) 1951
  • Norbert Lieb: Augsburg, Germany . Thorbecke, Lindau 1953
    Photos by Peter Keetman and Toni Schneiders
  • Erhard Göpel , Peter Keetman: Munich. Life circles of a city . Thorbecke, Lindau 1955
  • Siegfried Bröse : Freiburg im Breisgau . Thorbecke, Lindau 1956
    Photos by Peter Keetman and Toni Schneiders
  • Dorothee Kiesselbach: Bavarian Lake District. Nature and art in front of Munich’s gates . Thorbecke, Lindau, 1957
  • Franz Fuhrmann, Peter Peternell: Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Bad Reichenhall. Land around the Untersberg . Thorbecke, Lindau 1959
  • Hans Smithals: The German Alpine Road. From Lake Königssee to Lake Constance . Lindau 1960



  • A week at the Volkswagenwerk. Photographs from April, 1953 , Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-88940-605-X
  • FC Gundlach: fotoform / Peter Keetman , Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-88940-017-5
  • Angelika Bredemeyer: The Photographer Peter Keetman , Bonn 1992
    Kunsthistorische Abschlussarbeit
  • David Perkins: The Intelligent Eye. Learning to Think by Looking at Art , Los Angeles 1994, Chapter 8, pp. 70-73 (on Keetman’s working oil droplets ). ISBN 978-0-89236-274-5
  • Rolf Sachsse: Peter Keetman. Movement and Structure, Amsterdam 1996, ISBN 90-802694-4-1
  • Dirk Schlinkert, “Light traces on metal. The photographer in the factory “, in: Peter Keetman, Volkswagenwerk 1953, Wolfsburg 2003, pp. 156-159.

Web Links 

Single Signature

  1. Jumping UpGenealogical research
  2. HochspringenExhibition in the House of Photography , Deichtorhallen , (Hamburg


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