Gerda A-M.B. Theuns-de Boer

1955 –
Art and archaeology, early and modern photography, South- and Southeast Asia

Curriculum vitae

1955born in Assen on June 11
1983-1990studied Indian and Iranian Languages and Cultures, Utrecht University
1990-1991teacher Indian and Central Asian art at Utrecht University
1991-1999courses library cataloguing & classification, digital input of data, Leiden University Library; courses early photography in Asia
1993-1998assistant librarian: integration of the Indological collections of the Utrecht University and the Kern Institute, Leiden University
2003-2005project: Isidore van Kinsbergen (1821-1905); final results: monograph and exhibition
2006-2008project: Jean Philippe Vogel; final results: monograph and exhibition
1998-2010project leader: conservation and digital accessibility of the Kern Institute photographic collections
2003- presenteditor ABIA, Art & Archaeology Index for South and Southeast Asia

Special activities and positions

  • Columnist on early photography for the IIAS Newsletter Leiden, www.iias.nlNewsletter archive, 11 columns, 1999-2005
  • Co-curator Van Kinsbergen Exhibition in Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, 2005.
  • Guest curator Jean-Philippe Vogel Exhibition in The National Museum of India, Delhi, 2008.
  • Co-curator First Frames, in the Footsteps of early Explorers, Leh Palace, Ladakh, India, 2012.
  • Guest speaker on Buddhist and Hindu art and at Leiden University, Webster University Leiden and HOVO.
  • Guest speaker on early photography in relation to art & archaeology and care for monuments in South Asia
  • Board member of The Friends of The Kern Institute Leiden
  • Board and cultural committee member of the Netherlands-India Association, 2012-present


2003 “Met nieuwe ogen: de historische fotocollectie van het Instituut Kern ontsloten.” Aziatische Kunst 33,3: 16-33.
2005 & Saskia Asser, Isidore van Kinsbergen (1821-1905): fotopionier en theatermaker in Nederlands-Indië / Photo pioneer and theatre maker in the Dutch Indies, met bijdragen van / with contributions by Steven Wachlin. Zaltbommel: Aprilis in co-operation with KITLV Press Leiden & Huis Marseille Amsterdam.
2006 & Ellen M. Raven. “On the Indo-Afghan border: the Gandhāra album revisited.” In: Juliette van Krieken-Pieters (ed.), Art and archaeology of Afghanistan: its fall and survival, a multi-disciplinary approach, pp. 103-125. Leiden: Brill
“Van Brugge tot Batavia.” Ons Erfdeel: Vlaams-Nederlands Cultureel Tijdschrift 49,1: 103-105.
2007 Review of: Rosie Llewellyn-Jones (ed.), Lucknow: city of illusion, New York-Munich 2004. IIAS Newsletter 44: 36-37.
& Saskia Asser, “Monumenten en archeologie: Isidore van Kinsbergen fotografeert oudheden van Java en de Borobudur.” In: Flip Bool et al. (red.), Nieuwe geschiedenis van de fotografie in Nederland, Dutch Eyes, Zwolle, pp. 306-315.
2008 A vision of splendour: Indian heritage in the photographs of Jean Philippe Vogel, 1901-1913, Ahmedabad: Mapin in association with The Kern Institute Leiden. – Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, the National Museum, New Delhi, Febr.-March 2008.
“Jean Philippe Vogel in India and India in the Vogel Collection.” In: [Neelam D. Sabharwal, ambassador of India, (ed.)], Changing images: lasting visions: India and the Netherlands, [collection of 35 essays published on the occasion of 400 years of Indo-Dutch relations], pp. 85-91. Amsterdam: Nieuw Amsterdam.
“Vroege fotografie in India” at
2011 & Ellen M. Raven, Sita Pieris (eds), with technical assistance by Gerda Theuns-de Boer and Buddhini Wijesuriya, ABIA, South and Southeast Asian Art and Archaeology Index, Volume Three-South Asia, Leiden: Brill.
2012 “August Hermann Francke: ‘An accomplished scholar and a keen archaeologist’.” In: Ruchira Verma (ed.), First frames, in the footsteps of early explorers, a photographic exhibition, New Delhi: National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, pp. 13-20. – Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, the Leh Palace, Ladakh, India, Sept.-Nov. 2012.
2022& Ellen M. Raven (eds), Reading Śiva : an illustrated selection from the ABIA Online Bibliography on the arts and material culture of South and Southeast Asia. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

“Better one photograph than a thousand words: enhancing the role of photography in Indian Museums.”