Thomas Struth

by Friday, October 19, 2012

Thomas Struth (born 1954) is a German photographer whose wide-ranging work includes depictions of detailed cityscapes, Asian jungles and family portraits. He is one of Germany’s most widely exhibited and collected fine art photographers. Struth currently lives and works in Berlin and New York.


Born to a ceramic potter and a bank director in Geldern, Germany, Struth trained at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1973 until 1980 where he initially studied painting under Peter Kleemann and, from 1974, Gerhard Richter. Increasingly drawn to photography and with Richter’s support, Struth, along with Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, and Roswitha Ronkholz, joined the first year of the new photography class run by Bernd and Hilla Becher, in 1976. In 2007, he was an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

In 2007, Struth married author Tara Bray Smith in New York.

Struth’s work has been widely shown in solo and group exhibitions, among them the 44th Venice Biennale (1990) and Documenta IX (1992) at Kassel. His first solo show outside of Germany took place at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in 1987. In 1988, Struth exhibited in the group show “Another Objectivity”, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, which sought to define a current of research born in Germany in the wake of the Bechers’ work. Struth later had his first solo exhibition in the U.S. at The Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1990. Following the anthological exhibitions held in 2002 at the Dallas Museum of Art and the MOCA in Los Angeles, in 2003 his work was presented at the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum, with the screening of the video One Hour Video Portraits of portraits on which Struth had been working since 1996. The centre of the exhibition was the Museum series, which featured seemingly ordinary shots of people entering churches, museums and other public places. In 2007, he became the first contemporary artist ever to be exhibited at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, among the permanent collection of old masters.

In 2010, a European retrospective of his work, “Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978–2010” was held at Kunsthaus Zürich, later traveling to Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20, Düsseldorf; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Museu Serralves, Porto.
Struth has been exhibiting at Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, since 1987; at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, since 1989; and at Monica De Cardenas, Milan, since 1993.

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