7 Great Artist Duos That Shaped Art History
Bernd & Hilla Becher (1931-2007 and b. 1934)
signed, titled and dated Fabrickhallen (Giebel) 1987 Bernd Becher Hilla Becher' (on the reverse of the first element); numbered, respectively, 'S1-16' (on the reverse of each element)
sixteen elements—gelatin silver prints mounted on paperboard
each: 12 x 16 in. (30.4 x 40.6 cm.)
Executed in 1987. This work is unique.
Signature: signed, titled and dated Fabrickhallen (Giebel) 1987 Bernd Becher Hilla Becher' (on the reverse of the first element); numbered, respectively, 'S1-16' (on the reverse of each element)
Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Sammlung Sonnabend: Von der Pop-art bis heute Amerikanische und europäische Kunst seit 1954, February-May 1996, p. 136 (illustrated in color).
The Estate of Ileana Sonnabend, acquired directly from the artist
By descent from the above to the present owner
Bernd and Hilla Becher worked collaboratively for nearly half a century documenting industrial German structures. In their “typologies”—series of objective black-and-white photos—the Bechers sought to illuminate and catalogue the similarities and variations in design among particular building types, such as framework houses, water towers, and blast furnaces. Exhibited in groups, the prints encourage comparison of form and function, and hint at the history and context of each structure. The Becher style would inform a generation of prominent photographers including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth. For the Bechers, to read their photographs was to know and understand deeply these beautiful, yet often forgotten, “sculptures.” The signature neutrality of each image demanded exacting camera angles and light conditions, their methods drawing from both architectural and landscape tradition and broadening the conceptual range and potential of documentary photography.
German, 1931–2007, 1934–2015, Siegen, Germany and Potsdam, Germany, based in Düsseldorf, Germany