Josef Koudelka - Photographs London Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Directly from the artist

  • Literature

    J. Koudelka, The Black Triangle: The Foothills of the Ore Mountains, Prague: Vesmir, 1994, n.p.
    R. Delpire, Chaos: Josef Koudelka, London: Phaidon, 1999, p. 72
    Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful, Chicago: AIC, 2014, pl. 135c, pp. 216-217, captioned ‘Lom Jan Šverma, the coal basin covers an area of 70 by 20 kilometres’

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the early 1990s, Josef Koudelka (b. 1938) returned to the Czech Republic for the first time since he fled in the late 1960s. Over the course of the next few years, he used a panoramic camera to document the barren landscapes in the north of the country, known as the Black Triangle for the high levels of pollution and industrial destruction. Koudelka’s stark images record the environmental impact of open-cast mining and other smokestack industries. When he began primarily using the panoramic camera in the mid-1980s, his focus transitioned from documenting people to empty landscapes. Despite being void of all human presence, this haunting image still tells the narrative of humankind and our imprint on the earth.


The Black Triangle, Czechoslovakia

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
17.5 x 54 cm (6 7/8 x 21 1/4 in.)
Signed in pencil on the verso.

£4,000 - 6,000 ‡♠

Sold for £5,040

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London Auction 23 November 2021