Artist biography

Bernhard and Hilla Becher born 1931 and 1934

German artist-photographers preoccupied with the photography of old industrial buildings in a manner related to industrial archaeology. Bernhard Becher was born at Siegen and studied graphic art and lettering at the Stuttgart and Düsseldorf Academies. Began making paintings and lithographs of industrial structures such as iron-ore preparation plants and railway stations in 1953, influenced partly by de Chirico. Gradually became more interested in the buildings themselves than in the act of painting, began to collect old photographs of them and from 1956 to photograph them himself. Gave up painting altogether 1957. Hilla Becher, born in Berlin, had studied photography in Potsdam and had worked as a photographer in advertising at the time they met. She had decided to give up advertising and start again, and had begun to study at Düsseldorf Academy, where she also taught in the photographic department. They met in 1959 and decided to work together. Began in the same year to make systematic series, at first mostly of buildings in the German Ruhr and Holland; from 1965 also in Great Britain, France, Belgium, the USA etc. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Ruth Nohl, Siegen, 1963. They live in Düsseldorf.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.38