Live Now on Artnet Auctions: A Monumental Seascape by Wolfgang Tillmans Captures the Fragility of Nature

'Hermine, a' captures a fleeting moment at a monumental scale.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Hermine, a 2016. Available now in Monumental Masters on Artnet Auctions. Est. $80,000-100,000.

German-born photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has consistently, relentlessly pushed the boundaries of photography. From portraiture to still lifes to landscapes, his imagery represents an almost obsessive need to self-document. Tillmans emerged on the fine-art photography scene in the 1990s with his snapshot documentations of youth, club, and LGBTQ culture. Over time, his practice has evolved to include diaristic photography and large-scale abstraction. One such image, Hermine, a (2016) is available now in “Monumental Masters” on Artnet Auctions, through November 23.

Hermine, a (2016) is one of several images by Tillmans of the Atlantic Ocean. The impermanence of the photograph is strongly felt, a moment in time frozen before the suspended surf crashes into the sand. Metaphorically, Tillmans alludes to the impermanence of all things, and makes reference to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s notion of the “decisive Moment,” or the split second in time that a photograph captures. The seascape is also an allusion to the deep tradition of ocean imagery in art history, an acknowledgement of the fragility of the natural world.

The monumental photograph was shot using a high-resolution, full-format 35-mm digital camera. Tillmans began shooting in this format in 2009, stating the challenges and benefits of using such a highly detailed medium: “This is not a purely technical issue but actually raises some philosophical questions because, as we know, a lot of advances in art have had their origin in advances in technology. I suddenly found myself faced with photographs that show more detail than my brain can ever remember, and more detail than my eye could have seen.”

Photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans consistently sell for more than their high estimate, signaling a high demand.

Tillmans has seen exceptional success on the secondary market throughout his career. Since 1999, the average price for a work by Tillmans has exceeded its mean estimate. Over the last decade alone, Tillmans’s photographs have consistently sold for more than their high estimates, signaling an increasingly high demand. Beyond his market stardom, Tillmans was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 2000, marking the first time a photographer and non-British artist received the honor.

Hermine, a (2016) presents the rare opportunity to collect an impressive photograph by a celebrated artist. “Monumental Masters” is live now through November 23—don’t miss your chance to bid.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the specialist for this work, Susanna Wenniger, with any questions or concerns.

Head of Photographs

+1 (212) 497-9700 ext. 172

[email protected]

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In