Bernd & Hilla Becher - Biography

Coal stoves, factory buildings, winding towers - these are the motifsof the artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. In their cool,straightforward black and white photographs, people are never to beseen. Sometimes they show industrial buildings from several fxedperspectives. The artists allow the buildings to appear as memorialsto a lost industrial world, marked by the traces of production, ofsmoke and weather. They do the buildings justice, giving them a faceand turning them into witnesses of a bygone era.

"We wanted no mood in the pictures, rather universality."

"We wanted no mood in the pictures, rather universality," says Hilla Becher, born in 1934 in Potsdam. Since the death in 2007 of her husband Bernd Becher, born in 1931 in Siegen, she has continued their photographic work.


Bernd and Hilla Becher use large format cameras for their conceptualworks. The composition of the pictures emphasizes the surfacestructure of the lime kilns, gas tanks or grain silos. The light issoft, the sky is always overcast. "We have heard the accusation timeand time again: the Bechers do not like nice weather," says HillaBecher. "That's not true. You just see the details better when the skyis overcast. The contours are not duplicated by the shade. "


Bernd Hiller became a professor of photography in 1976 at the ArtAcademy in Düsseldorf and later founded the famous Dusseldorf school.With the support of Hilla Becher, he trained artists who later becamefamous, like Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Jorg Sasse, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Elger Esser. The influence of the teachers is clearly recognizable in the work of their students. It was a passionate search for clues which fascinated the students. "An attitude, toward both art and life," says Hilla Becher. "They were young and saw how we lived, how we lay out our work before us, without asking much. This was certainly encouraging in the beginning, however none of them knew where the journey would lead. Bernd encouraged and helped them to do their own thing. But he created no artists. Nothing comes from nothing. It was more about the way you study a subject, maybe about humility and modesty as well."

Bernd and Hilla Becher - collections

Works by Bernd and Hilla Becher are to be found in museums around the world, including the Dia: Beacon in New York, the MACBA in Barcelona, and the Museum Folkwang in Essen. Private collectors like F.C. Flick and Artur Walter have acquired works by these artists.


You can buy works by Bernd and Hilla Becher in our shop.


"Zeche Neu-Iserlohn", 1963-1964
Photographische Sammlung/ SK Stiftung Köln

Zeche Neu-Iserlohn, 1963-1964 von Bernd und Hilla Becher

Bernd und Hilla Becher

Bernd und Hilla Becher