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Bernd & Hilla Becher (1931-2007 and b. 1934)
WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION OF ILEANA SONNABEND AND THE ESTATE OF NINA CASTELLI SUNDELL
Bernd & Hilla Becher (1931-2007 and b. 1934)

Fabrikhallen (Giebel)

Details
Bernd & Hilla Becher (1931-2007 and b. 1934)
Fabrikhallen (Giebel)
stamped with the Studio Bernd & Hilla Becher Stamp and dated '2016' (on the reverse of the first element); numbered, respectively, '1-16' (on the reverse of each element)
sixteen elements—gelatin silver prints
each: 12 x 16 3/8 in. (30.4 x 41.6 cm.)
(16)Executed in 1987-2016. This work is unique.
Provenance
The Estate of Ileana Sonnabend, acquired directly from the artist
By descent from the above to the present owner
Exhibited
Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Sammlung Sonnabend: Von der Pop-art bis heute Amerikanische und europäische Kunst seit 1954, February-May 1996, p. 136 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

Fabrikhallen (Giebel) is an exceptional example of the pioneering work by Bernd & Hilla Becher which redefined the function of photography in postwar Europe. In 1959, the collaborative duo began photographing nineteenth century buildings from the industrial revolution that were in danger of disappearing because of pace of modernization, as well as changes in patterns of global manufacturing. Instead of photographing picturesque monuments, palaces, or churches of architectural, historic or religious significance, they focused on the ubiquitous, everyday edifices, like factories, furnaces, water towers, gas tanks, silos and coal bunkers so often taken from granted in the landscape. Photographed from the outside, the exteriors of these buildings do not speak to the types of activities that happen within. Rather, grouped together based on formal qualities, the Becher’s allow for comparative analysis of different “typologies,” such as similarities and differences between buildings with gables, as seen in the present example. The Bechers would influence generations of photographers and filmmakers in what would become known as The Dusseldorf School, including luminaries as Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky.

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