Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild
Oil on Dibond. 29 x 37 cm. Signed and dated 'Richter 1997' verso on Dibond and work number. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.
The four works by Gerhard Richter up for auction here embrace a wide selection of his abstract works and provide an insight into the spectrum of his painterly expression from the early 1970s to the end of the 1990s.
In the monochrome and apparent impersonality of the oil painting 'Grau' (lot 628), created in 1973, Richter reduces the painting process to the purely manual application of paint without subjective content. The result is a tranquil picture surface on the one hand, but on the other hand the fine burr structure of the oil paint creates a lively and individual visual effect.
The watercolour from 1985 (lot 645), with its open pictorial space and the strongly gestural application of paint in red and grey-violet, sets an impressive counterpoint. The work thrives on the contrast between the painting media of watercolour and oil paint and the energetic, almost emotionally charged brush stroke.
The two abstract paintings on Alu-Dibond (lot 641, 642) date from 1997. They have a multi-layered application of paint that creates a visual depth of space. The oil paint was alternately applied with a squeegee vertically and horizontally onto the smooth ground, resulting in multiple structural gradients, superimpositions and colour mixtures. Chance and the purely physical handling of the squeegee essentially determine the painterly result.
The complex and never explicit relationship between representationalism and abstraction and the artist's own withdrawal as an actively thinking, planning, and acting author in favour of an “informal” work process are important questions that Gerhard Richter has been repeatedly pondering for decades and which he endeavours to solve by various painterly means. He noted as early as 1985: 'The way I paint, one cannot actually paint, because the essential prerequisite is missing: the certainty of what is to be painted, in other words the “theme” ... When I paint an abstract picture ... I don't know beforehand what it should look like, nor do I know while I'm painting where I want to go, what would be necessary to achieve it. [...] So I am as blind as nature that acts, as it can, according to the conditions that hinder or demand it'. (Gerhard Richter, in: Armin Zweite, Gerhard Richter, Life and Work, Munich 2019, p.358)
Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London (label verso); private collecction, Belgium
Armin Zweite, Gerhard Richter, Catalogue Raisonné 1993–2004, Dusseldorf i.a., p.279 with colour illus.
cf.Dieter Schwarz et al., Gerhard Richter, Übersicht, Cologne 2000, pp.44/45
London 1998 (Anthony d'Offay Gallery), Gerhard Richter, exhib.cat., p.108, p.37 with illus. p.97 with colour illus.
Venice 1997 (La Biennale di Venezia), 47. Esposizione (label verso)