1958 Breda, The Netherlands


Academy of Fine Arts
Sint Joost Breda, 1976 – 1981

Awards & honors

Sint Joost Award 1981
Charlotte Kolher Award 1993
H.N.Werkmann Award 2001
Breda oeuvre Award 2013
Artist of the year 2017

Ruud van Empel
works and lives
in Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.

Until the mid-1990s, Van Empel created his photographic assemblages using traditional collaging techniques of cutting pasting and retouching. In 1995 Van Empel switched to a digital process, using a computer to create his conceptual photographs. Using a vast stock of digital photo’s to create his photographs, Van Empel changed the face of digital fine-art photography. On the basis of this art-historical reference, Van Empel created a new genre within photography – without a ready-to-wear label. The artist himself speaks of the ‘construction of a photographic image, or photo objects’. Although he does make use of pure photomontage – he never applies so-called morphing techniques – in his final image he strives for a naturalism and realism as opposed to a surrealist approach. The artificiality is visible but the final image is a convincing, autonomous reality. Although produced digitally, Van Empel’s images are unique, each being built up of different combinations of photo’s. He uses photography as an independent form of depiction. Though digitally produced, the camera and photography remain at the heart of his practice. Every image consists of photographs taken by himself, which are then digitally assembled on the computer. The camera provides the building blocks of his compositions. Van Empel’s works are constructed down to the minutest of details, in which he considers the exact placement of every element, giving his images a sense of idealized perfection. Though created in the digital age using the most up-to-date techniques, Van Empel’s work defies temporal structures and instead represent universal themes.

Text by Alex de Vries




The Alturas Foundation, San Antonio, Texas, USA

Chaney Collection, Houston, Texas, USA

Des Moines Art Center, des Moines, Iowa, USA

George Eastman House, Rochester Ny, USA

Hillman Collection, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

Christian Louboutin, Paris, New York

The Garner Collection, San Diego

Jeff Morr Collection, Miami, Florida, USA

Maxine Taupin, Los Angeles, USA

MoPA Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, USA

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, USA

Nerman Museum, Kansas City, Kansas, USA

Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, USA

RCB (Royal Canadian Bank) in America, USA

Stephane Janssen Collection, Arizona, USA

The Weiland Collection wareHOUSE, Atlanta, USA

The Norton Museum of Art, Florida, USA



APG Collectie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Stedelijk Museum, Breda, The Netherlands

Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen-Oranjewoud

Caldic Collection, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Collectie Erasmus Universiteit, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Collection Rabobank Groningen e.o., Groningen, The Netherlands

Collection Rabobank West-Flakkee, Stellendam, Zeeland, The Netherlands

Collection Rabobank Midden Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

DELA Kunstcollection, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

DSM Art-Collection, Heerlen, The Netherlands

Drents Museum, Assen, The Netherlands

Ekard Collection, Wassenaar, The Netherlands

Eneco Energie, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Flatland Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands

ING Real Estate Photography Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Isala klinieken, Zwolle, The Netherlands

Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam

Menzis Art Collection, Enschede, The Netherlands

Museum EYE Film Instituut Nederland

Museum MORE The Netherlands

Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, The Netherlands

Nederlands Instituut voor beeld en Geluid, Hilversum, The Netherlands

Noordbrabants Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

The Essential Collection Rabobank Nederland, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Hoboken Photo-Collection, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands Ministery of Foreign Affairs, Den Haag, The Netherlands

VU MC Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vincent van Gogh House, Zundert, The Netherlands



Arad Collection, London, UK

C-Photo collection, London, UK

David Roberts Collection, London, UK

The Franks-Suss Collection, London, UK

Sir Elton John Collection, Atlanta, USA and London, UK



Collection Meeschaert, Paris, France

FNAC Collection (French National Foundation for Modern Art) Paris, France

Hangar Photo Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium

Teutloff Photo + Video Collection, Bielefeld, Germany

Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria

Catlin Colection, Zürich, Switzerland

Colección Juan Redón, Barcelona, Spain

Fundación N.M.A.C., Cadiz, Spain


CB Collection, Tokyo, Japan



Tel Aviv Museum Of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

and private collections.