Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Art Department is proud to present a rare, museum-quality masterwork by the legendary Abstract Art titan Gerhard Richter: Abstraktes Bild 747-1, as a focal point of the 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale on 1 December. Executed in 1991, the iconic painting was chosen by Richter to open his first ever retrospective at Tate Gallery in London in the very same year, and embodies a crescendo in his career when the artist reached new heights in his technical investigation of his practice. Since then, Abstraktes Bild has been toured to international level musuems and featured in Richter’s solo exhibitions in London, Paris, Bonn, Stockholm, and Madrid.
In this majestic canvas, the artist reveals layer upon layer of shimmering beauty with a rare display of searing and luxurious tones together for dramatic effect, in his unique way of carefully and continuously manipulating the painted surface. The masterwork fully exhibits Richter’s most accomplished use of colour and his ability to harness its emotive power, placing him alongside Titian, Rubens, Matisse, and Rothko.
Cristian Albu, International Director and Co-Head of the 20th and 21st Century Art Department, Christie’s Asia Pacific, commented, “Ultimately engaging, breathtakingly beautiful, intensely dramatic, inspirational, and inexplicable, Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild is as close a manifestation of sublime as has been achieved in the art of painting. Painted in 1991, Abstraktes Bild is the first of four pivotal paintings completed that year which testify to his ceaseless technical exploration in the field of abstractions. The only work from the series to be included in Richter’s seminal retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London in 1991, it is among his most striking and powerful works.
The offering of Abstraktes Bild in our Hong Kong saleroom, where we have witnessed a surging demand among Asian collectors particularly for museum quality works of art by Western artists in recent years, demonstrates Christie’s unparalleled expertise in sourcing the most sought-after works in our worldwide networks, and presenting them in Asia – a fundamental market that drives Christie’s global business. We look forward to unveiling the work to our clients in London, New York, and Shanghai, ahead of the auction in Hong Kong.”
Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild 747-1:
Created in 1991, one of the golden years in Richter’s artistic career: 9 out of the top 10 world records for the artist are works from 1986 - 1992. When first offered at auction in February 2007, this work achieved a world record for the artist. At a HK$128 - 166 Million, Abstraktes Bild 747-1 will be Richter’s most valuable artwork by estimate, to ever be offered at auction in Asia.
Prestigious provenance and rich museum exhibition history: The work was selected to appear in Tate Britain Museum as part of Gerhard Richter’s first ever retrospective 1991, from the beginning of its creation. It travelled to four other European capitals, attesting to its quality and importance. The painting was acquired from Galerie Liliane & Michel Durant-Dessert, cutting-edge gallery owners and pioneers in their field, who have exhibited some of the most radical 20th Century avant-garde art in their gallery in Paris. Abstraktes Bild 747-1 has been part of the most distinguished European, American, and Asian collections, testifying to its universal masterpiece quality.
Unique composition and catalyst to a rare series: Abstraktes Bild 747-1 is the first of the four pivotal paintings executed in 1991 that are testaments to Richter’ constant exploration in the field of abstraction. All four paintings were reunited for the Reina Sofia Museum exhibition in Madrid in 1993-1994; however, the present work is the only one which has been shown in all five European museum exhibitions: London, Paris, Bonn, Stockholm, and Madrid between 1991 and 1994. Abstraktes Bild underwent several iterations in which each new sweeping accretion of paint introduced new bands and spreads of colour.