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Photographer Andreas Gursky Takes on the Masters of Landscape Art

A new exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum compares the last 30 years of his work to that of the 19th century masters.

by Nathaniel Ainley
Aug 1 2015, 2:00pm

"Engadin I," 1995, inkjet-print, 81 ½ x 140 ¼ inches, (207 x 356 cm). All images © 2015 Andreas Gursky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

World-renowned photographer Andreas Gursky measures up to the masters of 19th century landscape art in his new show, at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. The exhibition, entitled Landscapes, runs from August 2nd through October 18th, 2015, and is set to feature over 30 years of Gursky’s work in 20 large and small scale photographs, some of which have never-before been displayed in the United States. 

Gursky is known for his almost-clinical aesthetic, employing a range of techniques, from single frame “small-format” shots, to digitally constructed photographs composed from a series of images. The show is being organized by the Parrish Art Museum Director, Terrie Sultan, who decided to frame Gursky’s work in photography within the context of art history’s canonical landscape paintings: “With the Parrish’s deep connection to the history of landscape depiction through painting and photography, looking at Gursky’s work through this particular lens is apt,” Sultan explains. She compares the German photographer to the painters of the Hudson River School, citing his ability to produce an image of a landscape as he sees it, and not as it might appear; creating images rather than capturing them. In the Museum’s press release, Sultan names 19th century painters like Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt, as well as photographer Carleton Watkins, as Gursky’s “aesthetic and philosophical forebears.”

Gursky takes a highly detailed look at both natural and man-made environments. The Parrish Art Museum commends him for his ability to capture the marvel of our natural world, as well as the impact of civilization.

Below, check out some images from Landscapes:  

"Tour de France," 2007, c-print, 121 x 86 ¼ inches, (307 x 218,9 cm)

"Salerno I," 1990, c-print, 93 ½ x 116 ¼ inches, (236,8 x 295,2 cm)

"Turner Collection," 1995, c-print, 87 ½ x 125 1/8 inches, (222 x 317,7 cm)

Click here to learn more about Andreas Gursky: Landscapes.  

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