Elger Esser  (German, 1967) 

Elger Esser (German, b.1967) is a photographer best known for his large-format meditative landscapes. Born in Stuttgart but raised in Rome, Esser moved back to Germany in 1986, where he worked as a commercial photographer until 1991. He then enrolled at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied with famous photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, 1931–2007; b.1934). Although influenced by the Becher’s Conceptual teachings, Esser never adopted the grid pattern characteristic of their work, and his photographs sharply depart from the industrial and architectural subject matter praised by the Bechers and adopted by many of their protégés.

Esser’s landscapes are unmanipulated and simple in their composition; earth, air, and water become almost unidentifiable in images created using long exposures. Many of his works explore the indefinite expanse of the horizon. His images of bodies of water and their reflections exaggerate this expanse, reinforcing and extending the line where earth and sky meet. Low horizon lines, muted color schemes, and vast overcast skies offer a romanticized depiction of natural beauty in its purest state. Even in light of very specific titles, Esser’s works remain ambivalent and obscure, which serve to evoke a nostalgic response from viewers. He has had solo exhibitions at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, Italy, the Kunstverein in Hagen, Germany, and at the Herzog Foundation in Basel, among other European venues. Esser’s photographs are in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Alrbright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Find Elger Esser artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Artworks for sale (63)

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Elger Esser, Metz I Frankreich


Elger Esser
Metz I Frankreich

Evelyn Aimis Fine Art
Elger Esser, Nils I


Elger Esser
Nils I

Hamburg Kennedy Photographs
Elger Esser, Giverny I, Frankreich


Elger Esser
Giverny I, Frankreich

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Elger Esser, 65 Honfleur


Elger Esser
65 Honfleur

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Elger Esser, La Grande Be Frankreich


Elger Esser
La Grande Be Frankreich

Sonnabend Gallery
Elger Esser, Seacliff II, USA


Elger Esser
Seacliff II, USA

Sonnabend Gallery
Elger Esser, Vogue I Frankreich


Elger Esser
Vogue I Frankreich

Sonnabend Gallery
Elger Esser, Combray (Giverny III) Frankreich (Haute-Normandie, 27 Eure)


Elger Esser
Combray (Giverny III) Frankreich (Haute-Normandie, 27 Eure)

Sonnabend Gallery
Elger Esser, Montrond-les-Bains


Elger Esser

Sonnabend Gallery
Past auction results (271)  View All
Elger Esser, En Naquora I, Libanon


Elger Esser
En Naquora I, Libanon, 2005
c-print, diasec, mntd


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Elger Esser, Marne III, France


Elger Esser
Marne III, France, 1997
c-print, mntd


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Elger Esser, Les Fleuriaux, France


Elger Esser
Les Fleuriaux, France, 1997
c-print, mntd


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1967   Born in Stuttgart, Germany
1969 - 1986   Raised in Rome, Italy
1996   Student of Master Class
1991 - 1997   Studies at Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf, master class of Prof. Bernd Becher
1997   Academy diploma
1998   Foreign DAAD-travel grant 'Italy'
1998   Recipient, Supporting award for Art Düsseldorf
1998   Supporting area Art Cologne (Gallery Inge Friebe)
1998   Recipient, DAAD-travelling award, Italy
1998   Advancement award of Fine Arts of the city of Düsseldorf, Germany
2001   Deutsches Studienzentrum Venice
2008   Visiting Professor of Photography at Folkwang Hochschule Essen
2006 - 2009   Professor of Photography at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, Germany
2010   Rheinischer Kunstpreis
2012   Fellowship Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK), Institute for Advanced Study, Delmenhorst, Germany
  Lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany
2013   Desaster / The End of Days, Galerie Taddaeus Ropac, Paris, France
2013   OLD SCHOOL Anachronismus in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany
2013   Elger Esser. Giverny, Heliogravuren, Schirmer und Mosel, München (solo)
2013   Nocturens à Giverny. Photographies de Elger Esser, Galerie Photo du Pôle Image Haute-Normandie, Rouen, France (solo)
2013   Meseglise, Institut für Moderne Kunst, Nürnberg, Germany (solo)
2012   Lichte Weite, LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (solo)
2012   Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome (solo)
2012   Katz Contemporary, Zurich (solo)
2012   Stille Wellen, Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany (solo)
2012   ‚Kalte Rinden - Seltene Erden’, Stadtgalerie Kiel, Germany
2012   ‚Les Territoires du désir ou les métamorphoses d’un musée imaginaire’,
 Musée d’Art moderne André Malraux, MuMa, Le Havre, France
2012   ‚Il Fuoco Della Natura / The Flash of Nature’, Salone degli Incanti, ex Pescheria, Trieste, Italy
2012   ‚Exposition photographique: Eaux précieuses – Eaux sauvages’, Galerie d’art du Conseil général, Hôtel de Castillon, Aix-en-Provence, France
2011   Sonnabend Gallery, New York (solo)
2011   ‚Les Territoires du désir ou les métamorphoses d’un musée imaginaire', Musée d’Art moderne André Malraux - MuMa, Le Havre, France
2011   ‚light-sensitive – Contemporary Photography from the Schaufler Collection’, Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, Germany
2011   Welt-(er)-findung, zeitgenössische Photographie - Collection Olbricht, Kunsthaus Villa Jauss, Oberstdorf, Germany
2011   ‚La ciudad magnífica. Arquitecturas en la colección CIRCA-XX Pilar Citoler’, The Andalusian Centre of Photography, Almería, Spain
2011   Kunst befreit! Neupräsentation der Sammlung. Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
2011   Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, USA (solo)
2011   Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, Australia (solo)
2011   Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon (solo)
2011   Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France (solo)
2011   Kunstforum Baloise, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
2011   ILEANA SONNABEND. AN ITALIAN PORTRAIT. Peggy Guggenheim Collection – New Wing, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venice, Italy
2010   Et in Arcadia Ego. Paraísos cercanos, TEA Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
2010   The Düsseldorf School of Photography. Bernd & Hilla Becher, Thomas Ruff, Candida Höfer, In Sook Kim, Elger Esser, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, USA
2010   IMAGINÁRIO DA PAISAGEM. Obras da BesArt - colecção Banco Espírito Santo, CAV Centro de artes Visuais, Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, Portugal
2010   ZERO - ∞. Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, Germany
2010   Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2010   Sin Tiempo, Galería Fúcares, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2010   Landschaften-Veduten-Ansichten-Heliogravüren, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2010   ELGER ESSER, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
2010   EIGENTJD-ELGER ESSER, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Arnhem, Holland (solo)
2010   Photobiennale Moscow, Exhibition Hall New Manege, Moscow, Russia (solo)
2010   Der rote Bulli: Stephan Shore und die neue Düsseldorfer Fotografie, NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf, Germany
2010   Viaggio in Italia, sguardi internazionali sull’Italia contemporanea, Palazzo Fabroni, Pistoia, Italy
2010   Collezioni Contemporanee, SMS Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, Italy
2010   Konstellationen, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria
2009   Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (solo)
2009   TAGO - MAGO, Galería Fúcares, Almagro & Espacio de arte Hospital de San Juan de Dios. Almagro, Spain (group)
2009   Voyages pittoresques, Normandie 1820-2009, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Le Château - Caen, France (group)
2009   Les Rencontres D'Arles Photographie, Arles, France (group)
2009   Fotos que ver en Madrid cuando aún no estés muerto...de calor, Galería Fúcares, Madrid, Spain
2009   Voyages pittoresques. Normandie 1820-2009, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Le Château - Caen, France
2009   Les Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles, Arles, France
2009   Sonnabend Gallery, NY (solo)
2009   ‚6 views of photography’, Galerie de Zaal, Delft, Netherlands
2008   FO.KU.S - Foto Kunst Stadtforum, Innsbruck, Germany (solo)
2008   Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France
2008   Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut, Lebanon (group)
2007   Seestücke, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
2007   Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2007   Ileana Sonnabend, New York, NY (solo)
2007   Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida (solo)
2006   Gana Art Center, Seoul (solo)
2006   Galeria Fúcares, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2006   Johnen+Schöttle Gallery, Munich, Germany (solo)
2006   Kunstraum Deutsche Bank, 2006 (solo)
2005   Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2005   Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2005   Flight 405, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut, Lebanon
2005   dreamscapes, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels
2005   The City: Contemporary Views of the Built Enironment, Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY
2005   Landschaft als Metapher, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal, Germany
2004   Landschaften – Sonderausstellung zur KunstKöln, Cologne, Germany
2004   Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2004   Art History: Photography References Painting, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
2004   Vague II Hommages et digressions, Musée Malraux, Le Havre, France
2004   Imágenes en movimiento // Moving Pictures, Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
2004   Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2004   Fondation Herzog - Ein Laboratorium für Photographie, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
2004   Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2003   Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2003   Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2003   Schirmer/Mosel Showroom, Munich, Germany (solo)
2003   Marco Voena, Milan, Italy (solo)
2003   Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2003   Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2003   Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock, Germany (solo)
2003   Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
2003   Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock, Germany (solo)
2003   Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
2002   Aus Düsseldorf, Baronian-Francey Galerie, Brussels, Belgium
2002   10 young german artists, Galerie de Zaal, Delft, Netherlands
2002   Biennale der Fotografie, Moscow, Russia
2002   Wallflowers, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland
2002   In Szene gesetzte Architektur, ZKM Karlsruhe/Stadtische Galerie Erlangen/Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren
2002   Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome, Italy (solo)
2002   Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, Italy (solo)
2002   Galerie Sfeier-Semler, Hamburg, Germany (Solo)
2001   Galleria de Arte Moderne Villa delle Rose, Bologna, Italy (Solo)
2001   Ileana Sonnabend, New York, NY (Solo)
2001   Chrisitna Doll, Elger Esser Michael van Ofen, Galerie Sfeier Semler, Hamburg, Germany
2001   Ohne Zögern, Sammlung Olbricht, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
2001   Retrospective, Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY
2000   Galerie 213, Paris, France
2000   Galerie de Zaal, Delft, Netherlands
2000   Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (with Candice Breitz)
2000   Retrospective, Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY
2000   Friesland is …, Friesmuseum, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
2000   Landscapes - Portraits, Michael Hue-Williams Fine Art, London, England
2000   Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany (Solo)
2000   Galerie Inge Friebe Lüdenscheid, Germany (Solo)
1999   Andreas Grimm Galerie, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (solo)
1999   Massimo Lauro Galleria, Milan, Italy (Solo)
1999   New Photography, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY
1999   VISA, Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne, Germany
1998   Umgebung und Aussicht, Galerie Cora Hölzl, Düsseldorf, Germany
1998   When season becomes form, Kulturallianzen Cologne, Germany
1998   Kunstraum Düsseldorf (Advancement Award of Fine Arts), Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
1998   Galerie Marion de Beaupre, Paris, France (Solo)
1998   Alte Post Neuss, Neuss, Germany (solo)
1997   Andreas Grimm Galerie, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (solo)
1997   Kunstverein Hagen, Hagen, Germany (solo)
1997   ARToll Labor Bedburg-Hau, Germany
1996   Auslöser, Düsseldorf, Germany
1995   Kulturbahnhof Eller, Germany (solo)
1994   Idus Nemorensis Nemi Italy
  Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
  Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna
  DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Frankfurt, Germany
  SMS Contemporanea, ex Palazzo Delle Papesse, Siena, Italy
  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA
  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
  Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
  Fonds national d’art contemporain, Paris
  Centre Pompidou, Paris
  Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany
  Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany