Thomas Struth - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Exhibited

    Dallas Museum of Art, 12 May – 18 August, 2002 (another example exhibited); Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Septemeber 15, 2002 – January 5, 2003 (another example exhibited); New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4 February – 18 May, 2003 (another example exhibited); Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, 28 June – 28 September, 2003 (another example exhibited); Thomas Struth 1977-2002

  • Literature

    D. Eklund, A. Goldstein, M. Morris Hambourg, C. Wylie, Thomas Struth 1977-2002, Dallas, 2002, p. 43 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Thomas Struth is one of the most challenging and intriguing artists to emerge from Europe in the past two decades, having produced a unique and varying body of work, capturing aspects of nature, buildings, culture and society. His museum series that began in 1989, depicting people visiting museums, churches and cultural institutions, explore the relationship between works of art and the public that comfortably circulate their inhabited spaces – a space that not only tells the story of time, but documents the present.

    “Struth in his own self-portrait shows himself looking at Albrecht Dürer’s self-portrait in the Alte Pinakothek. The Dürer is in sharp focus and centered in the picture, while Struth locates himself almost completely outside of the frame, out of focus in the foreground. In contrast to the intensity of detail in the Dürer painting, and the attention to the imperfections of the wall on which it hangs, Struth offers only a basic indication of himself, cutting most of his head out of the image, and just the slightest indication of his neck and half of his torso. The greatest emphasis is given to his blue jacket, which occupies the right side of the picture. Constituting a double self-portrait of the two artists, the work constructs a psychological intensity and intimacy between the Dürer painting and Struth, as its close-to-life-scale engages the spectator whose space it seems to share. To Struth, the work is about self-acceptance; the Dürer functions as the ‘undeniable truth’ in front of him, confronting him with the historical fact of his culture and heritage. It is not Struth but Dürer who ‘looks’ at the camera, like a sitter in one of Struth’s portraits. Struth’s practice demonstrates a remarkable capacity to connect with his subjects as he observes friends and strangers in public and private situations. By collapsing his self-portrait into a museum photograph, he makes a powerful statement about his approach to viewing and being viewed, ultimately focusing on the relationship of the artist to his work. As a self-portrait, it is a portrait of self-reflection.”

    A. Goldstein, ‘Portraits of Self-Reflection’ in Thomas Struth 1977-2002, Dallas, 2002, p.173  


  • 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.

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Self-Portrait, Alte Pinakothek

158.4 x 187 cm. (62 3/8 x 73 5/8 in).
This work is from an edition of ten.

£125,000 - 175,000 

Sold for £412,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

28 Feb 2008, 7pm