In September 2010, internationally acclaimed contemporary German photographer Candida Höfer focused her camera on two of Baltimores most venerable cultural institutions: The Johns Hopkins Universitys George Peabody Library and the Walters Art Museum
. A selection of the resulting images will make their Baltimore debut in Candida Höfer: Interior Worlds. On view at the BMA from November 16, 2011 through February 26, 2012, the exhibition features 13 breathtaking images of European and American interiors that demonstrate how the artist goes beyond documenting architecture to capture moments of contemplative beauty.
Höfers images of the Peabody Library and Walters Art Museum contrast the exciting cast iron decoration in the librarys late 19th-century reading room with the refined Italian Renaissance-inspired space of the early 20th-century museum interior. These enormous works, each more than six feet tall, are complemented by the artists spectacular images of the State Art Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany (1999); Basel University Public Library in Switzerland (1999); Bregenz Art Museum in Germany (1999); Library of the Royal Academy of Language in Madrid, Spain (2000); Harvard University Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2001); Louvre Museum in Paris, France (2005); Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris, France (2005); Library of the Archiginnasio in Bologna, Italy (2006); and Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal (2006). The works in the exhibition are loaned by the artist and private collectors and are installed in two neoclassical galleries adjacent to the BMAs collection of 17th- and 18th-century European paintings.
Known for her intensely detailed images of grand architectural spaces, Höfer (born 1944) is among an important group of artists that emerged from the Düsseldorf Academy in the 1980s under the tutelage of influential photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher. These artists transformed the formal and conceptual ambitions of their medium by repeatedly focusing their lenses on carefully defined subjects and expanding the size of their lushly colored images to rival painting. Höfers meticulously composed photographs of rooms in libraries, museums, theaters, cafés, universities, and other centers of cultural life have been featured in numerous solo exhibitions in museums throughout Europe and the United States, including the Kunsthalles in Basel and Bern, Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, and the Power Plant in Toronto. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Documenta 11. She represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and is represented by galleries in Europe and the United States. She lives and works in Cologne, Germany.