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Daisy Margarete Spies collection

Identifier: ubl140

Scope and Contents

The collection Daisy Spies consists mainly of photographs related to Walter Spies. Except two portraits of young Walter Spies taken in Moscow in the late 1900’s, the photographs record his life in Java and Bali after 1923 and in the 1930’s. Many photographs were made by the artist himself, and the most part of the collection bear captions in his hand. Further there are three watercolours of marine animals by Walter Spies. The last part of the collection consists of paper clippings containing articles on Walter Spies published in the 1950’s and 1960’s.


  • Creation: 1914-1988
  • Creation: Bulk 19XX-1945

Language of Materials

German, English, Dutch

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Daisy Margarete Spies (Moscow, 20 December 1905 – Berlin, 4 September 2000) was the sixth and last child of Leon Spies (1858-1921) and Martha von Mohl (1863-1946). She was the youngest sister of the famous painter, musician, photographer and Bali expert Walter Spies (1895-1942). Encouraged by the latter the very gifted Daisy began her study modern ballet in Dresden, and studied classical ballet as well. Later she became prima ballerina of the opera of Berlin and had a very successful career. From 1950 Daisy Spies dedicated her life to choreography and was ballet master of the Berlin ‘Staatsoper’, of the ‘Operettehaus’ in Hamburg and the ‘Landestheater’ in Linz. Later she was director of the ballet school Wigman-Studio in Berlin. She was married to the ballet dancer Rudolf Kölling (1919-1970).

Daisy was the last surviving of the brothers and sisters Spies and played an important role in securing Walter’s artistic, epistolary, scholarly and spiritual legacy. She was encouraged by Hans Rhodius (1912-1988), Walter Spies’ first biographer and editor of his letters. She became befriended with him and exchanged an extensive correspondence, now held in the Collection Walter Spies Foundation.


344 photographs, 3 water colours and 1 sheaf with printed documentation (1 meter)

Abstract in Dutch

De collectie geschonken door Daisy Spies (1905-2000), de jongste zuster van de schilder, musicus en fotograaf Walter Spies (1895-1942), bestaat hoofdzakelijk uit foto’s waarvan het merendeel door of van de kunstenaar op Bali zijn gemaakt en uit enkele tekeningen van zijn hand.

Abstract in English

The collection donated by Daisy Spies (1905-2000), the youngest sister of the painter, musician and photographer Walter Spies (1895-1942), contains mostly photographs, by or with relevance to Walter Spies, and some drawings by the latter’s hand.


Or. 25773 A-D. Mounted and loose photographs

A. Small album

B. Leaves from an album

C. Large album

D. Collection of loose photographs

Or. 25773 E. Watercolours of marine animals

(1) Sea cucumber

(2) Sea cucumber

(3) Sea star

Or. 25773 F. Printed documentation

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

By way of the inventory.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated in December 1991 by Mrs. Daisy Spies, the younger sister of Walter Spies, on the occasion of her 86th birthday.


No future additions are to be expected

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm Leiden University Library A 1587: Berlin, Daisy Spies, photograph albums of Walter Spies.

Related Materials

Collection Stichting Walter Spies Holland / Walter Spies Foundation

Collection Marianne van Wessem (Or. 25.188)

Collection Galestin (Or. 20.965, inv. nrs. 225-238)

Collection Paul Spies (Or. 22.309, inv. nr. 15)

Collection C.J. Grader (Or. 26.645, correspondence)

Letters by Daisy Spies in Collection Walter Spies Foundation (Stichting Walter Spies Holland)

Microfilms of material pertaining to Walter Spies held outside the University Library Leiden (see Collection Stichting Walter Spies Holland / Walter Spies Foundation)

Separated Materials

Kern Collection, Leiden, photographs by Walter Spies

Naturalis (National Museum of Natural History), 73 watercolours by Walter Spies.


  • Gruyter, W. Jos de (ed.), Walter Spies, 1895-1942 :Haags Gemeentemuseum 2/7-16/8 1964, Den Haag, 1964 [exhibition catalogue]
  • Hitchcock, Michael and Lucy Norris, Bali : the imaginary museum : the photographs of Walter Spies and Beryl de Zoete, Kuala Lumpur, 1995
  • Rhodius, Hans, Reichtum und Schönheit des Lebens : Walter Spies (Maler und Musiker auf Bali 1895-1942) : eine Autobiographie in Briefen mit ergänzenden Erinnerungen, ’s Gravenhage 1964 [see pp. 52-54, memories by Daisy Spies]
  • Rhodius, Hans and John Darling (John Stowell ed.), Walter Spies and Balinese art, Zutphen 1980
  • Spruit, Ruud, Kunstenaars op Bali : W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, Rudolf Bonnet, Walter Spies, Willem Hofker, A.J. Le Mayeur, Arie Smit / Ruud Spruit, Amsterdam 1995
  • Stowell, John, Walter Spies : a life in art, Jakarta 2011 [forthcoming]
  • Zoete, Beryl de and Walter Spies, Dance and drama in Bali, London 1938


The material of this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room

Processing Information

The collection is registered as Cod. Or. 25.773. There is an inventory available

Collection guide of the Daisy Margarete Spies collection (1914-1988)
Collectie Daisy Margarete Spies
Marie-Odette Scalliet, 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 3 June 2020: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857