All Rights Reserved, The Daily Practice of Painting: Writings 1962-1993, Gerhard Richter Portraits: Painting Appearances, Call To Order - Robert Storr Discusses Gerhard Richter Exhibition, Gerhard Richter: 'A Painter In A Photographic Age', Mund(Mouth)(Brigitte Bardot's Lips) (1963). And he has emphasised the impact of this apprenticeship. Some critics take the variety in his work to signal a conviction that painting is obsolete; others protest that he is a "true believer", who paints to prove that painting lives. Richter was born in Dresden, Germany on the eve of the Second World War. The Weimar Republic was collapsing and the Nazis were taking power. "He shared most fathers' fate at the time," the artist says, "nobody wanted them.". At the same time, I know that I inevitably shall plan, invent, alter, make and manipulate. Gerhard Richter has completed his final major artwork, according to the artist himself. Richter favours photography not because it guarantees a connection between the surface appearance of the artwork and some reality behind it, but because it renounces any such claim. Now we have interesting things. Kant set out the axiom that we can never know "things in themselves", but only how they appear in experience. Richter increasingly employed his own painting as a means for exploring how images that appear to capture "truth" often prove, on extended viewing, far less objective, or unsure in meaning, than originally assumed. To explore the artist's work and life, click on an image below. Gerhard Richter's photo-inspired paintings are as dazzlingly beautiful as they are enigmatic. ", "I want to leave everything as it is. Richter's terminology is more slippery than that codified by philosophers, yet his essays and interviews make it clear that he shares their concerns. Richter employs thick brushstrokes and monochromatic color, thus sweeping across the canvas in a fluid, entirely fused motion. 48 Portraits is a pantheon of black and white headshots depicting male, mostly European, leaders in cultural and scientific fields - Alban Berg, Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet. Yet, if the automatic quality of this process helps him evoke an "anti-sensibility", it hardly grants his canvases the special access to the world that early champions of photography took to be the defining trait of the medium. He is widely regarded as one of the most important contemporary German artists and several of his works have set record prices at auction. Blurred flesh tones hint at Richter's painting process, beginning with a realist rendering and incorporating rollers, squeegees, and dry brush techniques to mask the surface. By 1962 Richter "had had enough of bloody painting", when chance dropped a new "pretext" into his lap: a photo of French actress Brigitte Bardot. Abstract Painting (726) 1990 is a large-scale diptych by the German artist Gerhard Richter, comprising two joined sections of canvas and characterised by shimmering horizontal forms. Moorhouse has taken pains to draw attention to the philosophical dimensions of Richter's style. View Gerhard Richter’s 7,175 artworks on artnet. "What could I say about any essence," Nietzsche asks, "except to name the attributes of its appearance?" Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden. "Gerhard Richter Artist Overview and Analysis". Analysis After a Dip, the Market for Gerhard Richter’s Work Is Back on Solid Footing. "Pictures which are interpretable and which have a meaning," he insists, "are bad pictures." See His Trajectory Here. Superficially reminiscent of the neo-Dadaist, 1950s "Hard Edge" abstraction of Ellsworth Kelly, Richter chooses here to systematically paint squares of colors based on the predetermined structure of the color wheel. In 1946, his father straggled home from a Russian prisoner-of-war camp, and was barred from teaching under the new de-Nazification laws. Richter increasingly employed his own painting as a means for exploring how images that appear to capture "truth" often prove, on extended viewing, far less objective, or unsure in meaning, than originally assumed. His clarity of vision also varies. Gerhard Richter is a contemporary German painter considered among the most influential living artists. ", "I'm still very sure that painting is one of the most basic human capacities, like dancing and singing, that make sense, that stay with us, as something human. His schizophrenic aunt, Marianne, was murdered by the Nazis as part of their drive to euthanize the sick. In 1948, at the age of 16, Richter quit his formal education and took up an apprenticeship as a set painter for the theater. The sense that reality is unknowable (and, so, unrepresentable) reinforces the special relationship that Richter's paintings have with death. Richter was born in Dresden the year before Hitler came to power and after the war he was an art student in communist East Germany. Gerhard Richter, Cologne, 1984. He incorporated it into the abstract canvas he was working on (now lost) and burned all his old work. I can't understand the arrogance of someone saying, 'I have created a big, important work.'". "If you want to understand what it's all about ... look at the portraits. Never having seen an image of a person separated from its "original", they were spooked. The other common themes in his work are the elements of chance, and the play between realism and abstraction. Richter has maintained a lifelong fascination for the power of images and painting's long, uneasy relationship with photography: while either medium may claim to reflect or express reality truthfully, either ultimately suggests only a partial, or incomplete view of a subject. ©2021 The Art Story Foundation. Gerhard Richter, Tate Modern Exhibition Review Gerhard Richter has been making art ever since 1961, when he left Germany. Moving between styles and media, Richter has been hailed as "the Pablo Picasso of the 21st century", "an artist beyond isms", "an enigma" - often with reference to Délaroche's oracle. Such means for suggesting that something essential to the model has been "lost in translation" often leads a viewer's attention to the oil pigment's dense, material nature, thereby demonstrating both its expressive strengths and shortcomings. But they almost always omit the line in brackets that follows: "(Because style is violence, and I am not violent.)" He has been through a lot of phases, constantly experimenting with different techniques. Gerhard Richter (German: [ˈʁɪçtɐ]; born 9 February 1932) is a German visual artist. Photographs, particularly black and white, have often been viewed this way. His subjects soon become ghosts, Selbstportrait (Self-portrait) by Gerhard Richter. Photograph: National Portrait Gallery. But I don't know that. "When you take a photograph you get an immediate fracture," Moorhouse says. Often he begins by mechanically projecting such an image onto the canvas, a technique for thinking about how images often seem to have a life of their own, like mysterious ghosts haunting our psyche. In each of his styles, Richter compels us to consider the act of looking - he balances longing for something behind what is represented with an insistence that we can never know what is there. What kind of solution did photos offer? He has never fully abandoned the desire to paint "the things one sees and which exist" that was instilled in him during these years. Das Potsdamer Museum Barberini zeigt in einer wunderbaren neuen Ausstellung mehr als neunzig Werke des Künstlers Gerhard Richter. Paul Moorhouse, the curator of the show at the National Portrait Gallery, has made the wager that Richter's work, in all its modes - from exquisitely realistic renderings to pure abstractions such as the 4900 Colours shown at the Serpentine last autumn - possesses a nebulous coherence. Yet it is clear his experiences growing up under two totalitarian regimes helped shape the commitment to "continual uncertainty" that characterises his aesthetics. He has lived and worked in Germany his entire life. The results are diverse. In a series of completely abstract works of the early 1990s, Richter challenges the eye of the viewer to detect anything in the field of vision other than the pure elements of his art: color, gesture, the layering of pasty materials, and the artist's impersonal raking of these concoctions in various ways that allow chance combinations to emerge from the surface. For Decades, the Artist Gerhard Richter Has Plumbed the Depths of the German Soul in Increasingly Abstract Ways. Richter employs a systematic approach to the canvas in his color-chart-based painting 1024 Farben (1024 Colors). He was born into a German family in the city of Dresden in 1932. That's the opposite of before. Gerhard Richter Gerhard Richter to donate works for a room devoted to his art in new Berlin museum. Photographs were regarded as true, paintings as artificial. The work suggests the artist viewing reality from a detached perspective, as he resists any moment of clear focus on the overall image. The New York Times / “I like everything that has no style: dictionaries, photographs, nature, myself and my paintings,” he says. Critics often quote Richter in his Notes 1964-65: "I like everything that has no style." His deliberate lack of commitment to a single stylistic direction has often been read as an attack on the implicit ideologies embedded in the specific histories of painting. Traumatised by his father's decline and by the disgrace of Nazi leadership, Richter gestures towards an alternative set of ancestors, representing them as they appeared in popular encyclopedias, rather than after the heraldic fashion of fascist art. As a play on the term social realism, the artists of the movement included Gerhard Richter of whom’s work the Lab currently features. ", "Every museum is full of nice things. Here’s Which Bodies of Work Are Thriving Market insiders say Richter's market is actually composed of a number of submarkets. The painting is void of figuration and recognizable imagery, revealing Richter's indifference toward any "model" as serving as his subject matter. Through his photo portraits he developed a "styleless" style - that is, a way to continue painting without capitulating to authority or asserting it himself. See available prints and multiples, paintings, and photographs for sale and learn about the artist. In Richter's completely abstract canvases, personal emotion and all traces of the painter's autobiography seem missing. At an exhibition of daguerreotypes even earlier than the one attended by Délaroche, viewers are said to have turned away from the wraith-like portrait plates in terror. They constitute a form of remembrance of what they know they cannot fully represent. When you are painting from photographs that are taken years ago, the appearance becomes a ghost." In the mid-1970s, Gerhard Richter began making large, colorful, tactile abstract paintings whose sketchy, rough, and blurry effects make us aware of the tools and techniques used and the complicated pictorial thinking involved. November 22, 2009, By Sarah Douglas / While his father, like most government functionaries, joined the Nazi party and fought on the eastern front, the young artist remained a step removed. The "father problem" that the young Richter shared with many Germans of his generation anticipated his ambivalent attitude towards the people and institutions he encountered as a young artist. The wake of war proved traumatic for Richter: two of his uncles had been killed in action, and his father had lost his employment. "Illusion - or rather appearance, semblance - is the theme of my life," he quotes him as saying: "All that is, seems, and is visible to us because we perceive it by the reflected light of semblance." His rejection of totalising political or artistic ideologies, and his suspicion of paternal authority, mirror his refusal to settle down to any one way of painting. But what makes this modern master tick is there for all to … Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana, he later joked, were his "real reason for leaving the GDR". For five years, Richter studied amid the berubbled moonscape of Dresden, mastering the heroic style promulgated by the new regime and specialising in murals. Around the same time, he began collecting the photographs that comprise Atlas, the ever-expanding compendium of source images from whose panels he still draws, ranging from personal snapshots to celebrity glam-shots, from advertisements to pornography, landscape postcards to photographs of concentration camps - which he has never used, because he found them "unpaintable". "The masses of photographs that passed through the developing bath every day," he has said, "may well have caused a lasting trauma." Nietzsche, in whose work Richter immersed himself as a teenager, drove the process to its conclusion, doing away with essence all together. ArtIinfo.com / [Internet]. The agnosticism, realised in the photoportraits, also applies to Richter's abstractions, or to the panes of glass and tinted mirrors for which he is famous. Gerhard Richter has been in the art business for a long time, and time has shown that his paintings are not made to match any particular style, but they are nonetheless idiosyncratic. Gerhard Richter is known for a prolific and stylistically varied exploration of the medium of painting, often incorporating and exploring the visual effects of photography. Content compiled and written by Larissa Borteh, Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors, "What I'm attempting in each picture is nothing other than this...to bring together in a living and viable way, the most different and the most contradictory elements in the greatest possible freedom. With a career spanning nearly six decades, Gerhard Richter is widely considered one of the greatest artists of our time. There are two self-portraits from 1996 in which Richter, bled into a semi-transparent blear, looks down in the attitude of Dürer's Melancolia. The final room in the exhibition contains more recent, colour paintings of Moritz, Richter's son by his third wife, Sabine. ", Richter has resisted attempts to use biography to prise "meaning" from his work. It also has more recent, specifically German, antecedents. Glossy Dreams Gerhard Richter, Breath (Atem), 1989, oil on canvas, 118 x 98 ⅛ in. Often enough Gerhard Richter has worked entirely in monochrome mid-greys, which is in stark contrast to later abstract work in vivid colours. He found he could not fully commit to gestural abstraction, which to him seemed to rely too much on the artist's subjectivity. In October 2012, Richter's Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by … Düsseldorf, by contrast, invited Richter to explore abstract expressionism, dada collage and decollage, pop and radical varieties of "anti-art". Richter has described and demystified his method: he projects copies of photos on to canvas, traces them in pencil, then fills them out in paint. But it's my best option. New York Magazine / Mund is one of Richter's first paintings completed from a photograph. Of course, there are different ways to survive. Although the central character in the film — known in Germany as Werk Ohne Autor (Work Without Author) — is called Kurt Barnert, it is clearly based on Gerhard Richter. In other cases, he scrapes into the drying portrait with a ruler or spatula. Eventually, however, the modernist freedoms driving him to "paint through the whole history of painting" brought him to an impasse. September 9, 2010, By Jerry Saltz / Gerhard Richter began his life in an age of totalitarian control. • Gerhard Richter Portraits is at the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2 (0844 579 1924), until 31 May. In 1935, his family moved to Reichenau, in what is now Poland, so that his father could take up a post as a schoolteacher; in 1942, they relocated to the still more provincial village of Waltersdorf. Looking at the abstract expressionist paintings there transformed him. Gerhard Richter (born February 9, 1932) is one of the world's most celebrated living artists. From the age of 16, he was determined to become a painter: his first art-related job involved producing communist banners. He was particularly put off by the cults of personality surrounding his contemporaries. The painting's many layers, strokes, and scrapes of color may thus appear as "beautiful" as anything found in nature that came into existence partly according to a predetermined structure (such as DNA), as well as by way of unpredictable occasions of pure chance and the action of outside forces. The painted picture was no longer credible; its representation froze into immobility, because it was not authentic but invented. According to legend, it was the painter Hippolyte Délaroche who, on seeing the first daguerrotypes exhibited in Paris in 1839, let out the notorious cry of despair La peinture est morte! Richter would often blur his subjects and embrace chance effects in his own painting process in order to show the impossibility of any artist conveying the full truth of a subject in its original condition. Less than a week after his thirteenth birthday, Richter heard some 3,600 British and American planes drop more than half-a-million bombs on Dresden (he then lived just outside the city). Find an in-depth biography, exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the latest news, and sold auction prices. Richter himself has said all sorts of things. He also worked as a painter of signs and stage sets, before being accepted into the Dresden art academy in 1950. “Because style … "Hitler, soldiers, all that was for plebeians," he recalls, "whereas my mother always kept me close to 'culture'." I'm shocked now that the story seems clear, because it didn't seem clear at the time." Gerhard Richter, often called the best living painter, begins work on his portraits by projecting photographs on to canvas. Gerhard Richter is known for a prolific and stylistically varied exploration of the medium of painting, often incorporating and exploring the visual effects of photography. 1 Sometimes paint is applied with brushes, but more often it is smeared, dabbed, rubbed, blotted, streaked, and dripped with house painting brushes, palette knives, squeegees, and … This fine volume gathers together these works going back to their first appearance in the late 1980s, and discusses in depth his techniques and approaches in making these small mixed media … For this reason, among others, it is far better to paint a portrait from a photograph." His two uncles were killed in the war and his father served, but survived. Gerhard Richter is one of Europe’s most influential post World War II painters and many contemporary artists in Australia have taken note of his work across genres as diverse as conceptual art, pop art, romantic landscape painting, realism and lyrical abstraction. In an interview in the mid-60s, he asserted: "A portrait can never come closer to the sitter than when it is a very good likeness. Reproductions in the Dresden library stopped at impressionism. ", "I don't dare to think my paintings are great. Gerhard Richter – Kölner Domfenster (Cologne Cathedral Window), 2007, 11,000 hand blown glass panels, 72 colors and shades, 9.6 x 9.6 cm each, total size 2300 x 900 cm (106 sqm), photo: CC BY-NC 2.0 by Second-Half Travels ", "Photography altered ways of seeing and thinking. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. The Gerhard Richter Archive was established in Dresden in 2006, and the artist himself has published two catalogue raisonnés. Gerhard Richter (German: [ˈʀɪçtɐ]; born 9 February 1932) is a German visual artist. I therefore neither plan nor invent; I add nothing and omit nothing. Working alongside but never fully embracing a quick succession of late-20th-century art movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, American/British Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, Richter has absorbed many of their ideas while remaining skeptical of all grand artistic and philosophical credos. Particularly when set beside the Vermeer-like perfection of the few that Richter spares, the "blurred" and gashed canvases evoke the strength of conviction that it must take to mar them. Gerhard Richter’s newly unveiled stained-glass windows at an abbey in South Germany are his last major work, completing one of the most important oeuvres of the 20 th and 21 st centuries.. Gerhard Richter, ABSTRAKTES BILD (649-2), 1987.Courtesy Sotheby's Hong Kong. ... views and analysis from the international art world delivered directly to your inbox. For a time, he flourished. Paintings of Mustang bombers and Phantom Interceptors that Richter produced in the mid-60s, together with his aerial views of European cities in oils and lithographs, evoke the nights of February 1945, when Dresden (100km from Waltersdorf) burned under 4,000 tonnes of US explosives. Richter later remarked: "Photographs were the way forward. His subjects soon become ghosts Selbstportrait (Self … Yet the experience for the East-German born artist was key, as it spurred him on to develop and drive forward both figurative and abstract painting in a way few in the West could have achieved or even conceived. Writing for the catalogue of the 2002 Museum of Modern Art retrospective that cemented Richter's reputation, the curator Robert Storr described the artist's impulses in semi-religious terms: "doubt" and "belief". ", "I believe in painting and I believe in eating too. “Because style … Gerhard Richter, (born February 9, 1932, Dresden, Germany), German painter known for his diverse painting styles and subjects. Several paintings in the current exhibition reflect Richter's sense of belonging, literally and spiritually, to a "fatherless" generation. In the lower region of the canvas, for instance, Richter suggests that the viewer is having a perceptual experience of looking through a window; nevertheless, the bold tracks, scrapes, smudges, and layerings of paint above playfully cancel that optical illusion. Richter borrows much of his painted imagery from newspapers, or even his own family albums. Comments/Context: Gerhard Richter has often explored the border between painting and photography in his art, but his series of overpainted photographs has been largely overlooked until recently. Richter's language echoes doubts about human knowledge that are as old as Plato's allegory of the cave. Notably, some of Richter's relatives were directly involved in the Nazi movement, namely his father, a schoolteacher, and an uncle. Photo by Benjamin Katz. It was Künstlerscheisse, he later complained - "artist-bullshit". Sometimes, he produces a "blur", as if the camera that took the snapshot had been out of focus, by feathering the still wet paint with a dry brush. Gerhard Richter is a German painter who originally trained in a realist style and later developed an appreciation for the more progressive work of his American and European contemporaries. In this example of one of his early grey paintings, Richter allows structure and color to compose the "picture." In three varyingly abstracted versions of a single photograph - among the most intimate of Richter's numerous autobiographical images - the infant's wide eyes reflect the apprehension, as well as tenderness, of the parent beholding him. ... 2010 Richter Case Analysis I. Although he has resisted allowing the gesture to become an "identity tag", he usually defaces his photo paintings. Richter's mother, the daughter of a concert pianist, encouraged her son's early talent for draftsmanship. What can we do? Schopenhauer reprised Kant's theory, speaking of the world as mere "representation". We have to eat, we have to pain, we have to live. The portraits at the National Portrait Gallery lack style in the sense that each has been copied from an automatic, mechanically reproducible medium. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. January 26, 2010, By Sonic Youth bank for their album: Daydream Nation (1988). His subject matter was often derived from newspaper … This powerful gesture suggests a consideration of how abstract forms may well serve as a painter's subject just as effectively, for their visual or optical interest, as any photographic or "realistic" scene derived from nature, or the "everyday world" around us. Alongside such artists as Manfred Kuttner, Sigmar Polke, and Konrad Lueg, Capital Realism was action and reaction to a Germany’s division between East and West. Gerhard Richter, often called the best living painter, begins work on his portraits by projecting photographs on to canvas. Richter himself worked as a photographer's assistant developing photos when he was young (or so he has said). He has painted both black and white and colour portraits - of celebrities, such as Jackie Kennedy or Queen Elizabeth; anonymous individuals; and some family members, close friends and professional associates. Photography is not only a means of representation but also, as the late German novelist WG Sebald put it, "a way of making ghosts". In 1959, he travelled to Kassell in West Germany to attend the second Documenta exhibition, which presented a wide range of modernist work. His photoportraits make us conscious not only of the loss of reality in images, but also of the reality of loss that Richter, as a child of Germany's zero hour, had to confront. ", "Gray is the color.. the most important of all.. absent of opinion, nothing, neither/nor. Nor could he embrace the anti-art ideals of Beuys and the Fluxus group, which were deeply hostile to his form of studio practice. His efforts in … These are the devotional gestures of a profound agnostic. It was important things or serious things. By Gerhard Richter, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Dietmar Elger, By Holland Cotter / That painting was dead or dying soon became a critical cliche, one repeated throughout the 20th century. This time his "fundamental aversion to all beliefs and ideologies" turned Richter against the capitalist west. "When you take a painting, you open the gap even further. Throughout his life Richter has. The photo paintings of the 60s drew almost as a record, and thus as a commentary upon magazines, film stills, dusty family albums and newspaper clippings. It is an idea that has haunted Gerhard Richter during a 50-year painting career that "officially began", as he tells it, with a photograph. Richter renders Horst at once hideous and pitiable, a Dr Caligari double whose rumpled clothes suggest he is down on his luck. He has worked primarily as a painter exploring both photorealistic methods and abstract works. Horst with Dog (1964), also in the show, is a photo portrait in black and white in which Richter's father, identified only by his first name, appears obscured by horizontal streaks like lines of TV static. 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