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Candida Höfer


Umberto Eco


A sumptuous collection of Candida Höfer's famously ascetic photographs of libraries around the world


Nobody photographs libraries, those splendid and intimate cathedrals of knowledge, as beautifully as Candida Höfer. Her photographs are sober and restrained – the atmosphere is disturbed by neither visitors nor users, especially as she forgoes any staging of the locations. The emptiness is imbued with substance by a subtle attention to colour, and the prevailing silence instilled with a metaphysical quality that gives voice to the objects, over and above the eloquence of the furnishings or the pathos of the architecture.

This sumptuous volume contains Höfer’s famously ascetic images of the British Library in London, the Escorial in Spain, the Whitney Museum and the Pierpoint Library in New York, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Villa Medici in Rome and the Hamburg University Library, among others.

Umberto Eco introduces the collection with a witty reflection on the role of libraries in all our lives.

Almost completely devoid of people, as is Höfer’s trademark, these pictures radiate a comforting serenity that is exceptional in contemporary photography.

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'Breathtaking … brings out the scale and beauty of these temples of learning'
Sunday Telegraph

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 24.5 cm

Extent: 272 pp

Illustrations: 137

Publication date: 31 October 2005

ISBN: 9780500543146

Contents List

Austria: Kloster Mehrerau, Bregenz; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; University Library, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Vienna China: Sou Du Bo Wu Guan Library, Beijing Denmark: Royal Library, Copenhagen; University Library,Copenhagen Finland: University Library,Helsinki France: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris; BNF, Paris Germany: Albertinum, Dresden; Alvar Aalto-Kulturhaus, Wolfsburg; Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, Berlin; Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin; Deutsche Bubliothek, Frankfurt am Main; Deutsche Bücherei, Leipzig; Deutsches Musikarchiv, Berlin; Deutsches Patent- adn Markenamt, Berlin; Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Weimar; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen; Kupferstich-Kabinett, Dresden; Max-Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte,Berlin;SächsischesStaatsarchiv,Dresden;WarburgBibliothek,Hamburg Great Britain: Bantry House, Bantry; British Library, London; Lay Society Library, London; Marx Memorial Library, London; Playfair Library Hall, Univerity of Edinburgh; RIBA, London Italy: Biblioteca Angelica, Rome; Biblioteca Cappuccini Redentore Giudeca, Venice; Biblioteca Hertziana, Rome; Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice; Biblioteca Seminario Patriarcale, Venice; Escuela de Arquitectura de Venezia, Venice; San Lazzarro degli Armeni San Lazzaro, Venice Norway: Deichmanske Library, Oslo; University Library, Oslo Spain: Biblioteca Pedro Salinas, Madrid; Biblioteca PHE, Madrid; Biblioteca Salamanca, Salamanca; Biblioteca tel MNCARS, Madrid; El Escorial Switzerland: Allgemeine Lesegesellschaft, Basel; Frey- Frynaeisches Institut, Basel; Naturhistorisches Museum, St Gallen; Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel; Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel; Staatsarchive Basel-Stadt, Basel; Swiss Re, Rüschlikon USA: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven; Brooklyn Public Library; Frick Art Reference Library, New York; Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge; Hispanic Society of America, New York; Long Beach Public Library, Long Beach; Los Angeles Public Library; MOCA, Los Angeles; New York Public Library; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Widener Library Harvard University, Cambridege

About the Author

Umberto Eco was a novelist, literary critic, philosopher and professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna. His novel The Name of the Rose was an international bestseller.

List of Contributors

Umberto Eco