Gerhard Richter's 'Panorama' in Berlin

Gerhard Richter Seestück (See-See), 1970 200 x 200 cm, Öl auf Leinwand Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie © Gerhard Richter, 2012


Über-painter Gerhard Richter celebrates his 80th birthday with the opening of a large-scale retrospective at Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany.


I consider him the most influential painter alive. Every art student, every art historian has to work off at this ingenious oeuvre. I don’t recall any Artist, who reflects the political fates of the second half of the 20th century in his art more, than Gerhard Richter:



Gerhard Richter Lesende, 1994 72 x 102 cm, Öl auf Leinwand San Francisco Museum of Modern Art © Gerhard Richter, 2012



He spent most of his early childhood in Nazi Germany. When World War II ended, he was only 13 years old. In 1951, he started his art studies at Dresden Academy of Fine Arts


There, he received a profound training in academic drawing and painting skills in order to follow the official Socialist realism style. Since 1932, this was the favored style and state doctrine by the Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, who forced it on all countries of the Eastern block. Visual art, basically had to praise the merits of Socialism in heroic, representational paintings. He said, ‘It became increasingly ideological. For example, we weren’t able to borrow books that dealt with the period beyond the onset of Impressionism because that was when bourgeois decadence set in.’


Richter had the chance to see Documenta II (1959) in Kassel: He was deeply impressed by the different kind of art that was featured there: Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionism promised freedom of expression, which would not have been possible in the GDR.


Reliable research confirmed that the CIA secretly promoted exhibitions of abstract expressionism to gain a PR advantage in the cold war: USA aimed to present themselves as a political system of freedom and freedom of artistic expression. (It is an irony: Tom Braden, the responsible CIA director for these projects at that time, recently stated, ‘It was very difficult to get Congress to go along with some of the things we wanted to do (…). That's one of the reasons it had to be done covertly. It had to be a secret. In order to encourage openness we had to be secret.’)


In 1961, Richter defected with his wife to West Germany – only a few weeks before the GDR started the construction of the Berlin Wall. He wrote to his teacher, ‘The reasons are largely to do with my career […] When I say that the whole cultural ‘climate’ in the West offers me and my artistic endaevours more, that it is more compatible with my way of being and my way of working than the climate in the East.’



Gerhard Richter Neger (Nuba), 1964 145 x 200 cm, Öl auf Leinwand Courtesy Gagosian Gallery © Gerhard Richter, 2012


He started to study Western art at Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. That is where he made friends with fellow students: Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke and Konrad Fischer aka Lueg. In 1963, they organized an exhibition of their work at a local furniture shop and coined the style ‘capitalist realism’.


Also inspired by American pop art, Gerhard Richter started to paint from found images and thus laid the basis for his famous treasury of public and private photos, the ‘Atlas’. He once said, ‘The photograph is the most perfect picture. It does not change; it is absolute, and therefore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style.’



Gerhard Richter 4096 Farben, 1974 254 x 254 cm, Lackfarbe auf Leinwand Privatsammlung © Gerhard Richter, 2012


Since the 1970s, Gerhard Richter started to create abstract works simultaneously with his representational paintings in a wide array of styles. In many works, he introduced the element of chance: By using industrial color charts or imitating abstract expressionism by pushing color through a silkscreen printing frame.


Different from the previous exhibition in London,  the Berlin show will also feature a unique highlight: Gerhard Richter has completed Version I of his abstract, aleatoric work 4900 Colours which, at a length of over 200 metres, will encompass the entire exhibition. 



Gerhard Richter seems to have been a special kind of artistic soil that grew in two different kinds of floor: The East and the West. And from this starting point on, he was able to challenge almost all questions in painting.



by UGL.




Gerhard Richter: ‘Panorama’ at Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany

Through 13th May 2012






Gerhard Richter: Motorboot (1. Fassung) / Motorboat (1st Version), 1965 © Private Collection
Gerhard Richter: 'Bach' ('Stream'), 1992, Oil on Canvass, 300 x 300 cm Moderna Museet, Stockholm © Gerhard Richter
'Betty' by Gerhard Richter, 1988, Saint Louis Art Museum, (c) Gerhard Richter, 2009


humaira, 27-04-12 01:39
To better anwser the questions What is the future of painting?I don't know with certainty, but I can't wait to find out. To me, it would seem to be the direct painting of feelings. Emotions. The highs and the lows. The textures of our existence. The essence of who we are and what we feel. Transferring that feeling, knowledge & energy, in the abstract, or not, onto a substrate. The successful transfer will connect.How does that fit with your view?I feel that pushing the boundaries is indeed my task, and the task of future generations. I would encourage all artists to keep painting, keep growing, expanding the possibilities. Those possibilities are forever changing, and open.What or who do you see as pushing the boundaries of painting?Nathan Redwood. Steven Yazzie. Jennifer Espenscheid. Reginald Baylor. All of them breaking boundaries as we've known them. That's the who in my world. Antoni Tapies and Jasper Johns are still alive, and I wonder what their truly latest endeavors will show. As for the what, I would think new techniques, coupled with new focus. New beauty that turns the world on its ear.And why do you think painting continues to be noted as a “dying form”?I can't imagine that level of profound ignorance. I disagree with the notion entirely. Just look around We are, so, we create. Some create with type, some create with numbers, or words, or code, or people, elements, beliefs, theories and philosophies. Thankfully, some of us use paint. As long as there is paint, people will create new and wondrous works.- Timo
Patricia, 01-09-13 07:35
Ygeia, kavla ki epanastasi. (Kai puhmaatria, kai luna park, kai fotografies apo ilious kai cult tainies. Kai voltes kai filous kai plats-plouts stin thalassa.)Se agapamexxxsan-viv
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Anayeli, 03-09-13 15:18
Thanks for being my rep!@Lorents- I'm humbled by your<a href=""> aarsenews</a> of my work. I don't see you on Flickr so please send me a message over there and I'll try to pay more attention to your uploads. Regarding my work, whether its photography or painting, I just want to fill a blank space with something that makes my eyes open a little wider and makes me feel a little bit more intensely. Just follow your instincts. Good luck!
Nadeesha, 03-09-13 21:14
Wat een verassing! You made my eeninvg (and probably my tuesday as well).Gerard Richter overrompelde mij ook. Toevallig ook met zijn bewerkte foto portretten. Misschien omdat ze zo persoonlijk en mystiek tegelijk zijn. Alsof je stiekem om het hoekje kijkt. Ik ben ooit naar een retrospectief geweest. Zijn meer abstracte werken zijn ook erg de moeite waard, vooral om de schaal en de kleuren.Ik ga je direct mailen! [url=]zxtosdoj[/url] [link=]eabsotumvmw[/link]
Welcome, 24-09-13 16:37
Selam canlarim ben teknolojileri ad? ma?azam var. mü?teri olarak tan??t???m fakat rüyamda görsem benim olaca??na inanamayaca??m kadar ba? döndüren bi çekicili?i vard? ondan ho?land???m? söyleyemeyecek kadar ince ve zarifti. bikaç hafta sonra geldi ve hafta sonu biraz gezip dola?abilirmiyiz demesi hayat?ma sanki anlam verdi var oldu?umu ogün anlad?m sanki. tabiki mutluluk duyar?m dedim e diye e?siz bir güzel manzaras? olan bi mekana yemek yeme?e gittik sevgilim olup olmad???n? sordu. olmad???n? söylememe hala inanam?yordu. ayn? soruyu bende sana sorucakt?m ama içimden geçenler ayn?yd? sana kar?? bana hiç hayat?nda erkek arkada?? olmad???n? söyledi. bende seni ilkgördü?ümde okadar çok istedimki ?ans?ma isyan ettim neden benim deilsin diye gülerek mutluluk tebessümü o haliyle neden olmas?n dedi. asla reddemezdimki seni dedi fikrin ayn?ysa konu?abilirsin dedi aman allah?m inan?lacak gibi de?il bir an uyan?p rüyada görmekten çok korktum. knu?amad?m dilim tutuldu. mekandan ç?k?p kar??da biryerde çaml?k ve tenha bir yerde arabay? çekip ba?ba?a konu?mak istedim hadi gidelim dedi inanamad???m güzellik sexilik kar??mdayd? ve feurmar?m? açmadan armut gibi gö?üslerini emmek için ask?s?n? indirdim ve bir elimle avuçlay?m adeta dilimle var gücümle yap???p emiyorum. yere do?ru ilerlettim ve iliklerini açt?m külodunun üzerinde bile elimi gezdirdi?imde alev gibi yanm?? am?n?n s?cakl???n? hissediyordum k?rm?s? külodunu aralay?p parma??m? içine soktu?umda bile zevkten ç??l?k at?yor bi yandan yarra??m? yal?yordu.ben onu bikaç defa o beni bikere bo?alt?p. mutlu ?ekilde dönüyorduk evimize derken bir kaç hafta böyle sevi?tik. birgün abisi gilde do?um gününü kutlamak için ba?ta beni olmak üzere bütün k?z arkada?lar?n? ve ailesini davet etti ogün gelip çatt???nda partide ikimizde a??r? vodka içtik ve k?sa süre sonra beni kenara çekti ve abisinin yatak odas?na girdik içeride partinin ve ailesinin kalabal?k kalabal?k olmas?na ra?men beni yata?a att? ve soymaya ba?lad? direk yarra??m a?z?na ald? kald?rd? ve üzerini soyundu o direk gibi kalkm?? yarra??mda öyle bi ?iddetli hoplay?p z?play?m inlemesi varki beni ba?tan ç?kard? ve art?k alt?ma ald?m bende öyle bi ?iddetle giriyorumki o barut gibi amc???na kafam?z?n güzelli?inden kap?y? kitlemeyi unutmu?uz meltem bacaklar?n? ay?rd?m ve o sikti?im s?v? olmu? amc??? a?z?ma ald?m ve herkes ç?lg?nca ?iki?ti?imizi izliyo manyak ?ekilde bak?yolar.

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