Bernd and Hilla Becher - Edition Schellmann: Fifty Are Better Than One London Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Jörg Schellmann, ed., Forty Are Better Than One, Munich/New York, 2009, p. 20

  • Catalogue Essay

    "The photography of the Bechers is a documentary photography. The buildings, mostly industrial manufacturing plants, regarded by the artists as "anonymous sculptures" appear isolated, without the working man. They are monuments in and of themselves, and at the same time symbols of functionality. In typological series, constructions or devices with the same functions and comparable structures are analyzed, always under the same - objective - shooting circumstances, in absolute abstention from an expressive treatment. With their encyclopedic work the Bechers are archivists of a disappearing world."

    - Jörg Schellmann, ed., Forty Are Better Than One, Munich/New York, 2009, p. 20

  • 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.

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Fachwerkhäuser, Siegener Industriegebiet (Framework Houses, Industrial District of Siegen) 1959–1973

The complete set of 12 duotone offset prints, on Ikonorex paper, with full margins.
all I. 40.4 x 30.8 cm (15 7/8 x 12 1/8 in.)
all S. 63 x 50 cm (24 3/4 x 19 5/8 in.)

All signed by both artists, each numbered consecutively from 'I' to 'XII' and all annotated 'ARCHIVE COPY' in pencil on the reverse (the edition was 50 and 10 artist's proofs), co-published by Edition Schellmann, Munich and New York (with their inkstamp on the reverse of sheet 'I'), and Sonnabend Sundell Editions, New York, all framed.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £17,500

Contact Specialist

Anne Schneider-Wilson

Head of Sale, Senior Specialist 
+44 207 4042

Edition Schellmann: Fifty Are Better Than One

London Auction 6 June 2019