Andreas Gurskys epic urban panorama, Paris Montparnasse - one of the artists most refined, spectacular and definitive works - estimated at £1-1.5 million, will lead Sothebys
London October Contemporary Evening Sale on 17th October 2013. Marking a critical turning point in Gurskys career, Paris Montparnasse presents one of the very first digitally manipulated images the artist made an approach which would go on to define his practice. Executed in 1993, it also delivers one of the most conceptually powerful treatments of our modern world and the alienating anonymity of urban society, globalisation and high-tech communication. With a further edition of this work housed in the prestigious Tate Collection, Paris Montparnasse ranks alongside Gurskys masterworks, Rhein II (1999), 99 cent (1999) and Chicago Board of Trade II (1999).
Alex Branczik, Head of Sothebys London Contemporary Art Department commented: With this magisterial work, Andreas Gursky stretches the concept of photography to its outermost limits and cements his standing as one of the greatest commentators on the way we live today. Technically, this work is a lynchpin of his practice. Here we see the linear abstract composition that would become such a hallmark of Gurskys photography, combined as always with an unmistakeable painterly quality in his use of colour and form. Standing in front of this epic work you are consumed by the sheer scale and scope of his vision.
Architecture is a central theme in Andreas Gurskys work. He began photographing the French capital in the early 1990s and was drawn to the landmark Mouchotte Building, a beacon of post-war modernism and the citys single largest residential building. Designed by architect Jean Dubuisson, Immeuble dhabitation Maine-Montparnasse II was built between 1959 and 1964 as part of a large scale urban renewal of the city to provide housing for 2,000 residents. Gursky photographed the monumental edifice in two separate shots and demonstrating supreme command of his technique, seamlessly converged them, creating a linear, almost abstract composition. Compressing the depth of field between the façade and picture plane, he cropped the end of the building off, creating the illusion that it could potentially run endlessly a device he would later use in Rhein II (1999). Gursky manipulated an immense array of pictorial data and perspective to provide the viewer with an intense visual experience of both micro and macro views of the building. Within the overall landscape of the work, one can observe countless individual systems and visions of lives - each reduced to a room-sized unit. Glimpses of interiors become apparent artists easels, stacks of books and individual figures peering out.