Watertowers, Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, active 1959–2007), Gelatin silver prints


Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, active 1959–2007)
1967–80, printed 1980
Gelatin silver prints
257.5 x 82cm (101 3/8 x 32 5/16in.)
Credit Line:
Warner Communications Inc. Purchase Fund, 1980
Accession Number:
Not on view
As both artists and professors at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, the husband-and-wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher have influenced an entire generation of German photographers with their typological approach to the medium, in which a single archetypal subject is described through an accumulation of diverse examples. For more than three decades, they have systematically examined the dilapidated industrial architecture of Europe and North America, from water towers and blast furnaces to the surrounding workers' houses, all recorded against a blank sky and without expressive effects. As it developed in the 1960s, the Bechers' project chimed with Conceptual Art in its emphasis on impersonal series as well as with older traditions of objective photography as practiced by such artists such as August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt.
Sonnabend Gallery

Stedelijk van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. "Bernd und Hilla Becher,".

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection VI," January 14, 2003–June 13, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indexing the World," May 25, 2004–September 19, 2004.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan," September 25, 2007–March 23, 2008.

Becher, Bernd and Hilla. Bernd und Hilla Becher. Eindhoven: Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1981. pp. 56–57.

Naef, Weston J. Counterparts: Form and Emotion in Photographs. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982. no. 49.