Bernd and Hilla Becher - Photographs London Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, circa 1968
    Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art, Evening, 23 June 2004, lot 18

  • Literature

    B. and H. Becher, Anonyme Skulpturen: Eine Typologie Technischer Bauten, Art Press, 1970, pp. 23, 44, 58
    T. de Duve, Bernd & Hilla Becher: Basic Forms, teNeues, 1999, cover and pl. 8
    Bernd & Hilla Becher: Typologien Industrieller Bauten, Schirmer/Mosel, 2003, pls. 20, 23
    Bernd & Hilla Becher: Basic Forms of Industrial Buildings, Thames & Hudson, 2005, p. 33
    S. Lange, Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work, MIT, 2007, p. 163, pl. 4

  • Catalogue Essay

    Left to right:
    (i) Herne, Germany, 1965
    (ii) Essen, Germany, 1963
    (iii) Montceau-les-Mines, France, 1967

    ‘All we did was to turn back the time to a photography of precision which is superior to the human eye.’
    Bernd Becher

  • 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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Kühltürme (Cooling Towers)

Three gelatin silver prints.
Each approximately 40 x 30 cm (15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.)
Each signed and dated in ink by Bernd Becher on the recto; copyright credit stamp on the verso.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 19 May 2016