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Bernd and Hilla Becher (German)
LOT ID: 75326
Pipe Detail: Coal Mine, 1991

Lithograph, Duotone offset lithograph
30.38 х 22.86 in. (77.17 x 58.06 cm.)
Signed, "Bernd Becher Hilla Becher" lower right; numbered "73/75" lower left.
Edition 73/75
Lot description
Framed: 32 x 25 in.
Image size: 15 3/4 x 12 inches.

This image, “Pipe Detail: Coal Mine”, portrays an industrial structure in a manner that does not misrepresent the image, but rather simplifies it. In a style that is now widely recognized as that of the Bechers, the print was executed in a way that presents a pure visual aesthetic, without distortion through a documentary point of view. Through their artwork, the Bechers celebrated the heritage of an industrial past, as is evident here through the focus on a functional mechanical structure.

German artists Bernd (1931-2007) and Hilla Becher (1934) were a collaborative duo known for their photographs documenting industrial structures. Beginning their work together in 1959, the couple traveled to steel mills, mines, and industrial sites to create their “typologies” or grids of black and white photographs. They often photographed water towers, coal conveyers, and blast furnaces with an assertive simplicity and aesthetic appreciation for mechanical engineering. They strove to represent these structures in the most straightforward manner they could achieve, by photographing only on overcast days in order to avoid shadows and from purely objective points of view. Their work has influenced numerous photographers including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Candida Hofer, and Thomas Struth, among others. The duo have shown in both solo and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (200); the Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY (1972 & 1974); and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England (1974).

Selected Public Collections:
Tate Gallery (London, England)
Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)
Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Pipe Detail: Coal Mine by Bernd and Hilla Becher
Alternate Views: 1 of 1
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