Thomas Struth was born in 1954 in Geldern, near Düsseldorf, in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. From 1973 to 1980, he trained under Gerhard Richter and Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Initially interested in painting, Struth turned his attention to photography in 1976. Two years later, he was awarded the Kunstakademie’s first scholarship to New York, where he produced a series of black-and-white cityscapes.
"If I look at my work from the beginning it is more the idea of trying to establish a kind of material that one can work with for the future, rather than making nostalgic images to record something that will later become lost." —Thomas Struth
Struth developed an interest in Renaissance paintings, and this precipitated his best-known series, the Museum Photographs. In these works, Struth captured anonymous individuals and crowds looking at iconic works of Western art in the world’s most popular museums. Thus, Louvre IV, Paris (1989), National Gallery I, London (1989), Pergamon Museum III, Berlin (2001), and Museo del Prado XII, Madrid (2005) all show similar scenes. Since the early 1990s, Struth has expanded his photographic vocabulary to include natural landscapes (jungles, deserts, and forests), intimate nature studies, celebrated architectural monuments (Notre Dame and Milan Cathedral), and Chinese cityscapes.