|About Saskia||History of The Saskia Archive||Our People|
Saskia, Ltd. is the leading provider of high-quality images for the teaching of art history. Saskia was founded in 1966 by Ron Wiedenhoeft, then doctoral candidate in art and architectural history at Columbia University, and his wife Renate. By photographing each summer over a period of thirty-eight years and during sabbaticals, the archive has now grown to 34,000 images. The Saskia archive is used successfully in introductory courses as well as specialized seminars of Art History and has enhanced a broad range of art history pedagogy and many other disciplines.
Saskia's Site License Agreement enables institutions to build and keep digital collections. Images are licensed to educational institutions for a one-time fee, based on their size, with no recurring costs or annual subscriptions. The Saskia archive is a basic building block for teaching art history; licensing in perpetuity guarantees that this valuable resource will continue to support the curriculum developed by faculty.
digital images from Saskia have been licensed by over two hundred institutions. The complete Saskia archive has been licensed by the following institutions:
- New York University, Institute of Fine Arts
- Columbia University
- California Digital Library (representing 10 campuses)
- California State University, Channel Islands
- University of Kansas
- University of Miami
Images from Saskia, Ltd. are now available exclusively through Scholars Resource, Inc. (at www.scholarsresource.com ). Scholars Resource is a one-stop site for licensing images for educational use from multiple sources. Currently Scholars Resource features the digital image collections of Saskia, Ltd., Davis Art Images, Bridgeman Art Education, Hartill Art Associates, Archivision, Dr. James Kiracofe, Veritas, Canyonlights, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Toledo Museum and works by Max Ferguson.
Saskia Ltd. was founded in 1966 by Ron Wiedenhoeft, doctoral candidate in art and architectural history at Columbia University, and his wife Renate. With a family loan and the promise by the Metropolitan, Philadelphia and Cleveland Museums and Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of California at Berkeley University to purchase original color slides of high quality, the first photo campaign to Berlin, Paris and Vienna was undertaken.
Fortunately for us—and faculty and students in the US—museum directors at the time were eager to have their works of art discussed in class and eager for students to come to study their collection, especially in—then—far-away places like Vienna. The care with which our museum photography was undertaken and the resulting high quality of our original color slides convinced many a director and faculty member of the value “of those wonderful Saskia slides.” A shared interest in creating and teaching with the very best images of works of art in the classroom enabled us to photograph extensively in collections in Western Europe and made possible a three-month documentary effort in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Teaching during the academic year and photographing during summer recess has resulted in an archive especially geared to teaching art history. Not just one overall view: front and back views, details that illustrate subject matter, texture, shading, subtleties of color, brushwork and so much more! Core works; yes, of course! Less well known artists—or as yet undiscovered—too, to show influence, diverging styles, technique, craftsmanship and talent! For close to forty years now, Saskia images have brought works of art to the classroom and inspired faculty and students alike.
Photographing under controlled light conditions when museums are closed to the public, Ron Wiedenhoeft’s tireless journey continues today. Recent photographic campaigns to India, China, Mexico and Alaska and museum photography of many cultures other than our own have broadened the scope of the archive. Saskia and the Wiedenhoeft family remain committed to providing an ever expanding archive to support research and education.
At Saskia, we feel that we are mediators between living scholars and artists from previous centuries. Enthusiasm and feedback from colleagues, art librarians and visual resource curators at our yearly meetings of the College Art Association, the Art Library Association conferences and the Visual Resources Association have been a constant inspiration and encouragement for us. Supporters and friends have watched the company—and our family—grow over the years. Instrumental in our transition to digital has been our son Kurt; his vision and technical expertise have been instrumental in converting our archive to a digital archive as early as 1994.
Dr. Ronald V. Wiedenhoeft (1937-2010), Vice President, photographer and art historian was deeply engaged in documenting and teaching art history. His areas of specialization were Italian Baroque, Flemish Art and Modern Architecture. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1977 and was a recipient of two Fulbright scholarships. His publications include two books, articles and contributions to conferences on international urban concerns. These catholic interests enabled Ron to make unique records of paintings, sculptures and architecture from varying cultures and time periods.
Renate Wiedenhoeft, president of Saskia, was born in Berlin. She was married to Ron Wiedenhoeft in 1960. In 1966 Ron and Renate fused their interests in maintaining close ties to her family and old culture and journeyed to Europe with their first two children for their first summer of photography. This successful photo campaign led to annual three-month photo tours to Europe and a number of extended periods of residency in Germany.
Renate contributed to their joint effort by providing a framework for the overall organization of business and family. Academic life enabled Ron and Renate a means to document Western Culture and arts and involved their children in this quest. All three children delight in their parents. love for language and works of art and are passing on these gifts to six grandchildren.
Renate is involved with the Visual Resources Association, has chaired sessions on the future of visual resources, on teaching with visual images, image vendors in the marketplace, licensing digital images and copyright. She can be reached at email@example.com.