The Richter Family 1, Köln


Thomas Struth (German, born 1954)




Dye coupler print


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Purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust

Accession #


On View

Currently not on view

Thomas Struth is renowned for his understated head-on portraits, landscapes, and views of museum galleries and famous public places. Although his style is subtle, his portrait of the contemporary painter Gerhard Richter and his family demonstrates a level of control and interpretation that is less evident in Struth’s portraits of less famous subjects. The centrally placed family stares into the camera in a seemingly detached manner that recalls the photographic typologies of industrial buildings by Struth’s teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher, or even August Sander’s posed, almost scientific portrait survey of German citizens in the 1920s and 1930s. Although Richter himself is the smallest, most distant figure in the group, everything around him seems to reflect his significance. Two of his small paintings—a still life with a skull and a view of the back of his wife’s head—frame the artist’s head. The children’s body language and the way they mimic the postures and gestures of their parents is especially compelling and almost chilling.

Image Copyright

© (c) Thomas Struth