Thomas Struth - PHOTOGRAPHS New York Friday, October 8, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Schirmer/Mosel, Thomas Struth: New Pictures from Paradise, no. 7891 (fig. 1)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The title of the series by Thomas Struth, Paradise, instinctively summons connotations of The Sublime, the subject of discussion by various 18thcentury English and German philosophers, and later, art. Interest in the subject rose in tandem with the increase in popularity of the Grand Tour, in which members of European nobility, as a rite of passage, travelled across the continent, documenting their adventures in literary and visual forms. The Sublime, as opposed to The Beautiful, was distinguished by its dual invocation of horror and delight, at once appearing as menacing, ominous and terrifying as inspiring, humbling and invigorating. Emphasis was on the tremendous, overpowering effect of nature, and the diminishing proportion of Mankind in comparison, all of which Thomas Struth deftly captures in the current lot.
    The vast Brazilian jungle appears primordial, stripping the image of its temporality and detaching it from any of the associations with 21st-century Brazil, particularly in regards to industrialization, rapid urban growth,globalization, and economic strength. The horizon is exceptionally low, and small, meandering pathway highlights the enormity of the surrounding nature, all but obliterating the sky in its sheer density. The scale of the work is accordingly impressive, immediately engulfing viewers with an almost spiritual potency, the kind normally experienced in religious architecture, unsurprisingly another popular subject in the work of Thomas Struth. In fact, just like the towering dome of the Pantheon, the grandiose façade of the Mailänder Dom, the expansive plaza facing Notre Dame, and the colossalvaulted ceilings at the Basilica de Montreale, the Brazilian jungle is as monumental and awe-inspiring, at once wondrous and overwhelming.

  • Artist Biography

    Thomas Struth

    Thomas Struth is a German photographer best known for his large-scale, classically composed photos of museum, cityscapes, and family portraits. Struth is a prominent member of the Düsseldorf School of Photography, the group of artists who studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the mid-1970s under influential photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher. Struth’s highly centralized, balanced photos incorporate cutting-edge photographic techniques and the tenets of classical composition to develop the documentarian aims of the Bechers.

    Struth’s work has been widely celebrated by the international art community. He represented Germany at the 44th Venice Biennale in 1990 and has been the subject of major retrospectives including those at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Haus der Kunst, Munich. He lives and works in Berlin and New York.

    View More Works


Paradise 23, São Francisco de Xavier, Brasil

Color coupler print, Diasec mounted.
87 x 68 in. (221 x 172.7 cm).
Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 9/10 on a label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $86,500


8 October 2010
New York