Bernd and Hilla Becher


Bernd Becher

German (Siegen, Germany, 1931 - 2007, Rostock, Germany)

Hilla Becher

German (Potsdam, Germany, 1934)

Blast Furnace: View 2, Völklingen, Saar, Germany

1986; printed 1989
photograph | gelatin silver print
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
  • Blast Furnace: View 2, Völklingen, Saar, Germany

    Bernd and Hilla Becher, Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher, Blast Furnace: View 2, Völklingen, Saar, Germany, 1986; printed 1989; gelatin silver print, 24 in. x 20 in. (60.96 cm x 50.8 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Bernd and Hilla Becher

Together, Bernd and Hilla Becher have photographed thousands of industrial structures — steel mills, water towers, mines, gas tanks, and blast furnaces — "simply because they existed."

The Bechers are most interested in structures that reveal their intended functions, and they photograph them with decided straightforwardness. Their seemingly neutral yet visually distinct approach is the result of a series of deliberate choices: the use of a large-format camera to capture maximum detail; the even lighting produced by gray, overcast skies; the straight-on viewing angle; and the consistent shooting distance. The uniformity of the images invites comparison of one structure to the next, particularly when several photographs are exhibited together in specifically arranged groupings.

As photography instructors at the Staatlichen Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Bechers have influenced a number of students, including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Candida Höfer.

24 in. x 20 in. (60.96 cm x 50.8 cm)
Acquired 1994
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Bernd and Hilla Becher


industrial, factories, structures, tubes, Germany

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