Thomas Struth (B. 1954)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Thomas Struth (B. 1954)

Mailänder Dom (innen), Mailand

Thomas Struth (B. 1954)
Mailänder Dom (innen), Mailand
chromogenic print, face-mounted to acrylic in artist's frame
signed ‘Thomas Struth’ on a paper label (frame backing board)
image: 68 x 86 1/8in. (172.7 x 218.9cm.)
sheet: 70 3/8 x 88 ¼in. (178.8 x 224.2cm.)
framed: 73 3/8 x 91in. (186.3 x 231.1cm.)
Photographed and printed in 1998, this work is number five from an edition of ten

Other works from this edition are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000.
H. Belting, W. Grasskamp and C. Seidel (eds.), Museum Photographs. Thomas Struth, Munich 2004, p. 106, no. 7451 (illustrated in colour, pp. 75 and 106).
A. Kruszynski, T. Bezzola and J. Lingwood (eds.), Thomas Struth Photographs 1978 – 2010, exh. cat., Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich, 2010, fig. 2 (illustrated in colour, p. 169).
New York, Marian Goodman Gallery, New Pictures from Paradise, 1999 2000 (another from the edition exhibited). This exhibition later travelled to Paris, Marian Goodman Gallery.
Milan, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Thomas Struth, 1999 – 2000 (another from the edition exhibited).
Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Thomas Struth, 2002 – 2003, p. 174 (another from the edition exhibited; illustrated in colour, p. 37). This exhibition later travelled to New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art.
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Moving Pictures. Contemporary Photography and Video from the Guggenheim Museum Collections, 2002 – 2004, pp. 178 and 214 (another from the edition exhibited; illustrated in colour, pp. 180 – 181). This exhibition later travelled to Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Passarion, Villa Manin Centro d'Arte Contemporanea, Love and Hate – From Magritte to Cattelan, 2004 (another from the edition exhibited).
Dresden, Galerie Neue Meister der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Madonna meets Mao, 2008 – 2009 (another from the edition exhibited).
Milan, Spazio Oberdan, Ieri Oggi Milano Fotografie dalle collezione del Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, 2012 (another from the edition exhibited).
Milan, Spazio Oberdan – Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Ieri Oggi Milano 2015, 2015 (another from the edition exhibited).
Alkmaar, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Emanuel de Witte, 2017 2018 (another from the edition exhibited).
Special notice

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.
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Jeremy Morrison
Jeremy Morrison

Lot Essay

A monumental vision stretching over two metres in width, Mailänder Dom (innen), Mailand stems from Thomas Struth’s iconic series of works depicting places of worship. Executed in 1998, it represents a virtuosic culmination of the artist’s most significant thematic concerns: cultural pilgrimage, architectural structures and ideological systems. Raised as a Catholic in divided Germany, Struth was fascinated not only by religion’s close connection with art, but also by the overarching power structures that accompanied systems of belief. In the present work, whose sister photograph captures the cathedral’s exterior, this enquiry is expressed in geometric terms, demonstrating the order imposed upon the mass of people by the building’s interior architecture.

Extending the compositional complexity of his Museum Photographs, which juxtaposed moving spectators with static artworks, Struth began to photograph places of worship in 1995, depicting San Zaccaria in Venice, Monreale Cathedral in Palermo (1998), the Buddhist temple Todai-Ji in Nara, Japan (1996/99), Notre-Dame de Paris (2000) and the Iglesia de San Francisco in Lima, Peru (2003). His depictions of Christian sites, in particular, stand among his most personal works.

‘I’ve always been very conscious of the formative forces at work on my own personal development’, he explains. ‘I was brought up as a Catholic and was a regular churchgoer until around the age of fourteen, when I began to question the structure of the church … For a visual artist, the gaze is critical. And the gaze has to do with the distance between your own entity and what is in front of you’ (T. Struth, quoted in A. Kruszynski et al (eds.), Thomas Struth. Photographs 1978 2010, New York 2010, p. 192).

In the present work, the directional gaze of the congregation and the beams of overhead light draw the eye to the left-hand edge of the composition, where a crowd of priests and choirboys blurs into luminous abstraction. At the same time, the sweeping parallel arrangement of pews, columns and paintings pulls our vision in the opposite direction, fracturing the central perspective that had defined much of Struth’s early oeuvre.

For Struth, the act of looking defines human activity, and is intricately bound to the powers that shape our world. In this respect, his focus on places of worship was the next logical step in a practice that had already explored a number of society’s governing forces – namely city architecture, the family unit, the natural landscape and the museum. Struth would extend his depictions of religious buildings into more secular places of ‘worship’: his photographs of Tien An Men in Beijing (1997) and New York’s Times Square (2000) present similar sites of human congregation, presided over by the spectres of Chairman Mao and the advertising industry respectively. A further conceptual extension of this project may be identified in his 1999 photograph of the giant granite rock formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, capturing a gathering of tourists transfixed by its presence. Common to all these works, and the present, is a fascination with the icons, monuments and spaces that – for better or worse – organise our collective gaze.

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