Thomas Struth (b. 1954)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more
Thomas Struth (b. 1954)

Mailänder Dom (Fassade)

Thomas Struth (b. 1954)
Mailänder Dom (Fassade)
signed 'Thomas Struth' (on a label affixed to the reverse)
colour coupler print mounted on Plexiglas
74½ x 92½in. (189.2 x 235cm.)
Executed in 1998, this work is number one from an edition of ten
Skarstedt Fine Art, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001.
My Portrait - Thomas Struth, exh. cat., Tokyo 2000 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 129).
New York, Marian Goodman Gallery, New Pictures from Paradise, September-December 1999 (another from the edition exhibited).
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Looming over the ant-like figures of the people, Milan Cathedral appears as an edifice packed with authority. Compared to the mild chaos of the haphazard placing of the people standing and sitting in front of the building, its symmetry, wealth of detail and decorative cohesion speak of order, of reason, and these are emphasised by its monumental scale. Thomas Struth's Mailänder Dom (Fassade), executed in 1998, is a crisp image of the cathedral that itself conveys some sense of the building's overwhelming dimensions through its own size. The sharp focus of the cathedral recalls the photographs of Struth's teacher, Bernd Becher. However, Struth's image, while appearing to share the concerns with objectivity of Bernd and Hilla Becher, aims at capturing something more subjective, more profound and more characteristic about the world in which we live.

In many ways, Mailänder Dom (Fassade) is an active continuation of the photographs that Struth had taken of gritty urban landscapes, showing how human lives are affected and even controlled by their environment. Here, Milan Cathedral is revealed as a centre of human interaction, as it has been for centuries. Indeed, the city has in part grown around this building.

Mailänder Dom (Fassade) also shares some of the concerns of Struth's museum pictures, exploring the roles of culture and tourism in the modern world. This building was created for religious reasons, and yet the colourful garb of the tourists shown outside it forces the viewer to consider its relative obsolescence in our more secular age. They are surely not worshippers for the large part. The religious buildings and artefacts of yore have become the tourist sites of today. Struth is not merely documenting the appearance of places, is not merely reducing 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 is attempting to grasp and to convey some essence of our existence in the cosmopolitan playground of the modern world. 'For me, making a photograph is mostly an intellectual process of understanding people or cities and their historical and phenomenological connections,' he has said. 'At that point the photo is almost made, and all that remains is the mechanical process' (Struth, quoted in A. Goldstein, 'Portraits of Self-Reflection', pp. 166-73, C. Wylie et al., Thomas Struth 1977 2002,, Dallas, 2002, p. 171). In addition, reflecting some of the thoughts of another of his teachers, Gerhard Richter, Struth plays with ideas relating to the nature and purpose of photography and also, by showing a picture of a cultural icon, he explores notions of our understanding and appreciation of culture itself.

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