Bernd & Hilla Becher

Wassertürme [Water Tower], 1973
two gelatin silver prints, 25-3/4 x 34-3/4 inches (framed) [65.5 x 88 cm]

The husband and wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher began photographing together in 1959. For over thirty years, they documented architectural forms they collectively referred to as “anonymous sculpture.” Their extensive series of water towers, blast furnaces, coal mine tipples, framework houses of mine workers, and other vernacular industrial architecture—often technologies on the verge of obsolescence—comprise an in-depth study of the intricate relationship between form and function.

Lime Kiln [Kalköfen], Ten Boer, NL, 1968
gelatin silver print, 19-1/8 x 22-7/8 inches (framed) [48.6 x 58.1 cm]
Framework House: Oststraße 16, Freudenberg, 1971
gelatin silver print, 36-1/2 x 22-3/8 inches (framed) [92.7 x 59.4 cm]

Many books on their work are in publication, each titled after the industrial structure that they document.

Their work is included in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Dia Art Foundation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Tate Modern, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, among many others. In 2014, Hilla Becher was awarded the Grand Prize for Culture of the Sparkasse Cultural Foundation of Rhineland. In 2022, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and SFMOMA organized a retrospective celebrating the Bechers’s remarkable achievement. The exhibition is the first ever organized with full access to the artists’ personal collection of working materials and their comprehensive archive.

Grain Elevator [Getreideheber],Coolus, Châlons-en-Champagne, F, 2006
gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches (sheet) [50.8 x 61 cm]