EXTRAORDINARY PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY OF FRAMEWORK HOUSES, INSCRIBED BY HILLA BECHER TO PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER AND PUBLISHER RALPH GIBSON
BECHER, Bernd and BECHER, Hilla. Framework Houses of the Siegen Industrial Region. (Munich): Schirmer/Mosel, (1977). Quarto, original white paper-covered boards, original photographic dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4500.
First edition, a rare presentation/association copy of the work of two "crucially important figures" in 20th-century photography (Parr & Badger), inscribed by Hilla Becher to Ralph Gibson, pioneering photographer and co-founder of the legendary Lustrum Press, "For Ralph Gibson, With kind regards, Hilla Becher," featuring 350 compelling duotone images.
As photographers who inspired the 1975 New Topographics exhibit, a "defining moment in late 20th-century photography… Bernd and Hilla Becher have been crucially important figures, as artists, as teachers, as theorists and as makers of books. From time to time throughout the history of art, a single figure can emerge to dominate a generation of practitioners. In photography there are two particular examples. Alfred Stieglitz… at the beginning of the 20th century and over the last three decades of the century, the Bechers." Identified by an emblematic "style that brings together two of the primary impulses of photographers: to categorize and to describe the world… the Bechers have published a whole series of photobooks… marked by a uniformity of design, their spare elegant white jackets marking the volumes out immediately" (Parr & Badger II:261-5). In Framework Houses straightforward views of the Siegen industrial region—where iron production restricted the use of lumber in home construction—the Bechers show that "nothing simply exists; they make you realize: somebody decided to make it that way. Industrial objects have their own poetry" (New York Times). See Open Book, 24; Roth, 208. This rare presentation/association copy is inscribed by Hilla Becher to another pioneering photographer, Ralph Gibson, whose "Lustrum Press, which David Vestal justly compare to the Salon des independents… [was] set up in a way that allowed photographers to have control over their own photobooks;" Lustrum broke new ground with its publication of Larry Clark's Tulsa (1971) "and the American version of Robert Frank's The Lines of My Hand (1972)," as well as that of Gibson's own work, which ""took the stream-of-consciousness mode into new and potentially exciting territory" (Parr & Badger II:259, 12). Along with the innovative Bechers, Gibson fundamentally altered the direction of the 20th-century photobook. Tiny owner label to rear panel of dust jacket.
An about-fine copy with an especially distinctive provenance.