Bernd and Hilla Becher - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "We want to offer the audience a point of view, or rather a grammar, to understand and compare the different structures. Through photography, we try to arrange these shapes and render them comparable. To do so, the objects must be isolated from their context and freed from all association."
    —Bernd & Hilla Becher

    • Provenance

      Sonnabend Gallery, New York, 2011

    • Exhibited

      A major retrospective of Bernd and Hilla Becher's work is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until 6 November 2022.

    • Literature

      Individual images:

      MIT Press, Bernd and Hilla Becher: Water Towers, pls. 88 and 94
      Lange and Gaines, Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work, pls. 13 and 49, pp. 110 and 169
      De Beaupré, et al, Bernd und Hilla Becher: Printed Matter 1964/2013: Éphemera, Catalogues Et Ouvrages Monographiques, pp. 32, 37, 56, and 58
      Art-Press Verlag, Bernd und Hilla Becher, Anonyme Skulpturen -- Eine Typologie Technischer Bauten, 1970, n. p.
      Sonnabend Gallery, Hilla and Bernd Becher, n. p.
      Schirmer/Mosel Verlag, Bernd & Hilla Becher: Typologien, n. p.
      Schirmer/Mosel Verlag, Bernd Und Hilla Becher: Wassertürme, front cover

    • Artist Biography

      Bernd and Hilla Becher

      German • Bernd 1931-2007 - Hilla 1934-2015

      Husband and wife Bernd and Hilla Becher began photographing buildings and relics of the Industrial Revolution, such as coal mines and cooling towers, in 1959. Like objective scientists removing a specimen from the field, the Bechers framed their subject in a manner that isolated it from its environment. Often, these stark, beautifully detailed prints were then displayed in grid-like structures, forming stunning 'Typologies'.

      By the time Bernd Becher became a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1976 (policy would not allow Hilla to be a simultaneous appointment), the Bechers' photographs, with their seemingly neutral point of view and serial display, were already being applauded by the international art world as important works of Minimal and Conceptual Art.

      View More Works


Water Towers: (Kugel unten Geschlossen)

circa 1960s-1980s
Nine gelatin silver prints, printed and assembled no later than 2010.
Each approximately 16 x 12 in. (40.6 x 30.5 cm)
Overall 68 1/8 X 55 1/8 in. (173.04 X 140.02 cm)

Each sequentially numbered '1-9,' print '2' with additional annotations and print '9' further annotated 'B' and 'B9,' all in pencil and all presumed to be in the hand of Hilla Becher.

Full Cataloguing

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $151,200

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs, New York

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 12 October 2022