Andreas Gursky - Photographs New York Monday, April 4, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Jean Bernier, Athens
    Phillips de Pury, New York, Veronica's Revenge: Contemporary Art from the Lambert Art Collection, 8 November 2004, lot 24
    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Grosenick, Andreas Gursky: Fotografien 1994-1998, pp. 64-65
    Pfab, Cooke and Syring, Andreas Gursky: fotografien 1984 bis Huete, pp. 102-103
    Syring, Andreas Gursky: Photographs from 1984 to the Present, pp. 112-113
    Deitch, Monument to Now: The Dakis Joannou Collection, pp. 162-163
    Grosenick, Ahead of the 21st Century: The Pisces Collection, pp. 84-85, No. 60

  • Catalogue Essay

    The spectacular view seen in Andreas Gursky’s Athens, 1995 appears to be taken from a distant peak looking down upon the city below. It is warm and thick, a sepia toned tapestry made up of endless tungsten lit buildings that are fluoresced in splashes across the picture plane by street lamps and car lights. In the distance particulate matter gathers to create a glowing dome over this man-made marvel of a starless night. Gursky’s photographs have often been compared to paintings because of their sensuous impact upon the viewer. Athens with its complexly abstract patterning and dynamic overall spattering of light indeed has the brunt shock of recognition similar to the physical effect one receives upon viewing a painting by Jackson Pollock.

    Andreas Gursky is one of the greatest contemporary European photographers. Born in 1955 in Leipzig, former East Germany, Gursky attended the Folkwang School in Essen (1978–1981) followed by the Düsseldorf Art Academy (1981–1987) where he studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Since the 1990s he has become internationally recognized for his amazing large-scale color photographs. Gursky’s subject matter has been written about as being “architectural structures that reflect our contemporary global environment”. And indeed he does photograph manufacturing plants and supermarkets, hotel lobbies, apartment buildings, and stock exchanges from around the world. But the main theme of Gursky’s work is the conceptually rigorous interweaving of the micro details into a macro structure.

    It is this tension between what we see and what we think we are seeing, between the surface details of a photographic image and what our minds seek to understand that holds us captivated by Gursky’s art. This he achieves in Athens, through his artful use of color, impressive scale (the combination of two mural size photographs) as well as an elevated and seemingly cool and distant point of view. All of which he combined with the subtle use of new technology and digital manipulation to create an image which appears to be seen from a place that is dizzily beyond normal human perception: a technological omnipresent vision of the HERE and NOW.


Athens, 1995

Inkjet print diptych, printed later, face-mounted to Plexiglas.
Overall 72 3/4 x 144 3/4 in. (184.8 x 367.7 cm)
Signed on the verso; signed in ink, printed title, date and number 3/6 on an artist's label affixed to the frame backing of the left panel.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $401,000

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New York Auction 4 April 2016