(Germany 1932– )
250.0 x 200.0cm
Richter's early paintings gave Pop Art a political edge. His subject matter was often based on news print photographs mimicking the blurring of surveillance images taken from a moving car. Richter's origins in Eastern Germany gave this quality a more personal resonance. His painting's relationship to photography has remained constant even though his subject matter has varied from landscape, to historical paintings, to apparently minimalist abstraction. It is not the accuracy of the image that interests him but on the contrary the potential for blurring, loss of focus and definition that it produces.
In his installation 'Atlas' at DIA in New York and later at Documenta 1997 Richter displayed a vast array of small photos taken as if for a sketchbook. These included hundreds of images of textures, clouds, seas, tiles, brickwork, trees, and so on. These were sometimes painted over, sometimes re-photographed so that the layering of photograph and paint became inextricably conflated. The textures and colours of the worked photos bore a striking resemblance to the repertoire of marks and colours of Richter's abstract paintings.
This repertoire is translated into a painterly tradition that is connected to Titian and Velasquez and so through Monet to Rothko. This tradition is partially expressed in the Baroque tendency to break the surface of the paint and blur the image to stimulate imaginative interpretation by the viewer. In spite of his relation to tradition, Richter has one strong affiliation with Minimalism. He emphasises process and paint as stuff rather than as a medium for pictorial composition. This is particularly evident in the abstractions where the paint is dragged onto the canvas with a squeegee.
In 'Abstract painting (812)' he has used only one colour in the over painting, it has been dragged across the stretched canvas on which an earlier darker composition had been laid down. In the process he emphasises the underlying materiality of painting by revealing the horizontal stretcher bars. The rich yellow of this top coat produces a summery, buttery, glow. This glow is accentuated by glimpses of the underpainting that hint at deep space beyond the surface and as electric flashes against the yellow.
Anthony d'Offay Gallery (England), London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Anthony d'Offay Gallery 1999
Anthony Bond (England; Australia) (Commissioning Editor), Wayne Tunnicliffe (New Zealand; Australia) (Commissioning Editor), Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 2006, 190, 191 (colour illus.).
Anthony Bond (England; Australia) (Author), Joanna Woodall (England) (Author), SELF PORTRAIT: Renaissance to Contemporary, London, 2005, 200 (colour illus.). fig.63, illustrated in reference to cat.no.58, 'Self-portrait' 1996 (MoMA)
'Foundation building' by Michael Wardell, pg.14-17, Look Sep 2004, Sep 2004, 17.
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), Biennale of Sydney 2000, Woolloomooloo, 2000, 104, 105 (colour illus.). no catalogue numbers
'Director's Introduction' pg. 5-7; 'Collections: International Modern and Contemporary Art' pg. 21, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1999 1999, 1999, 6, 21.
Mary Richards (Compilator), Martin Hentschel (Germany) (Author), Helmut Friedel (Germany) (Author), Gerhard Richter 1998, Germany, 1998, (colour illus.), 104.
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum (Netherlands, estab. 1936) (Curator), Munch Museet (Curator), Munch and after Munch, Amsterdam, 1996.
Peter Gidal (Author), Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties, London, 1995, 85 (colour illus.). cat.no. 24
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (Japan) (Editor), A Perspective on Contemporary Art: Painting - Singular Object, Tokyo, 1995, 65 (colour illus.). cat.no. 25
Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, 01 Jun 1995–04 Aug 1995.
A Perspective on Contemporary Art: Painting - Singular Object, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 03 Nov 1995–17 Dec 1995.
A Perspective on Contemporary Art: Painting - Singular Object, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, 05 Jan 1996–12 Feb 1996.
Munch and after Munch, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 16 Apr 1996–09 Jun 1996.
Munch and after Munch, Munch Museet, 13 Oct 1996–15 Dec 1996.
Gerhard Richter 1998, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, 11 Sep 1998–22 Oct 1998.
Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, 26 May 2000–30 Jul 2000.