Hilla Becher (1934–2015)

Photographer Hilla Becher has died, reports the Berliner Zeitung’s Ingeborg Ruthe. Schirmer/Mosel, her publisher, confirmed the news.

Along with her husband Bernd, Hilla Becher produced iconic, technically precise black-and-white photos of factories, water towers, and industrial buildings, highlighting typological recurrences in their forms. The two taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where Hilla was instrumental in building its photography department; as pedagogues the couple influenced well-known German photographers including Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky. The Bechers gained further acclaim outside Germany when their book Anonyme Skulpturen was released in the US.

Hilla Becher won the 2002 Erasmus Prize for her contributions to the school and the grand prize for culture offered by the Sparkasse Cultural Foundation of Rhineland in 2014. The Bechers exhibited in Documenta 5, 6, 7, and 11, and in major solo shows or retrospectives at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Stedelijk in Eindhoven; the Pompidou in Paris; and MoMA in New York. Their work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among many other venues.