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    Sale 1997

    Post War And Contemporary Art Evening Sale

    13 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 6

    THOMAS STRUTH (b. 1954)

    Mailänder Dom (Fassade)

    Price Realised  


    THOMAS STRUTH (b. 1954)
    Mailänder Dom (Fassade)
    signed 'Thomas Struth' (on a paper label affixed to the backing board)
    color coupler print face-mounted on Plexiglas
    74½ x 92½ in. (189.2 x 235 cm.)
    Executed in 1998. This work is number nine from an edition of ten.

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    Thomas Struth's Mailänder Dom (Fassade), executed in 1998, conveys a sense of the building's overwhelming dimensions through its own size. The building visually and physically dominates both the composition and the people in front of the massive cathedral. The sharp focus on the cathedral recalls the photographs of Struth's teacher, Bernd Becher. However, Struth's image, while appearing to share Bernd and Hilla Becher's concerns with objectivity, aims to capture something more subjective, more distinctive and more profound about the world in which we live.

    Western religion places the cathedral, a dramatic and sacred building, on a pedestal. However, the tourists in front of this particular cathedral in Milan are not pilgrims but tourists. This forces the viewer to consider its relative obsolescence in our more secular age. Struth depicts the cathedral most as the center of human interaction, not merely the center of the Catholic Church. The visitors, for the most part, are surely not worshippers. The religious buildings and artefacts of yore have become the tourist sites of today. Struth does not merely document how places look. He does not merely reduce the fabric of our urban life to abstraction, as is the case in so many other "objective" photographs, although these factors are important to Mailänder Dom (Fassade) and its aesthetic. Instead, he attempts to grasp and convey some essence of our existence in the cosmopolitan playground of the modern world.


    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
    Private collection, New York
    Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 14 May 2002, lot 42
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of a New York Collection


    Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, My Portrait-Thomas Struth, 2000, p. 129 (illustrated; another print exhibited).
    Dallas Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Thomas Struth: 1977-2002, May 2002-September 2003, p. 93 (illustrated; another print exhibited).
    Museum of Contemporary Art Donnaregina of Naples, Thomas Struth, 2008, pp. 34-35 and 37 (illustrated; another print exhibited).