Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ERIC CLAPTON
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)

Abstraktes Bild

Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Abstraktes Bild
signed, numbered and dated 'Richter 1981 467-5' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 39 3/8in. (100 x 100cm.)
Painted in 1981
Galerie Konrad Fischer, Dusseldorf.
Dr. Dirk Juza, Worms.
Documenta 7, exh. cat., Kassel, vol. I, 1982 (illustrated, p. 85).
U. Loock and D. Zacharopoulos, Gerhard Richter, Munich 1985 (illustrated in colour, front cover).
Gerhard Richter: Bilder/Paintings 1962-1985, exh. cat., Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle 1986, no. 467-5 (installation view illustrated, p. 51 and illustrated in colour, p. 239).
B. Buchloh (ed.), Gerhard Richter, Werkübersicht/Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1993, Ostfildern-Ruit 1993, vol. III, no. 467-5 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Kunstforum International, August-October 1995 (illustrated in colour, p. 261).
"Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Rondorf" in Gemeindebrief, Cologne 2002 (illustrated in colour, p. 49).
Gerhard Richter- Forty Years of Painting, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2002 (illustrated in colour, frontispiece).
T. Davila, "Une oeuvre de destruction. Gerhard Richter s'attaque à la peinture", in Cahiers du Musée National d'Art Moderne, no. 90, 2004-2005 (illustrated, p. 36).
Gerhard Richter Werkverzeichnis 1993-2004, exh. cat., Dusseldorf, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordenhein-Westfalen, 2005, no. 467-5 (installation veiw illustrated, p. 62).
S. Gronert, Gerhard Richter- Portraits, Ostfildern-Ruit 2006 (installation view illustrated, p. 63).
D. Elger, Gerhard Richter- A Life in Painting, Chicago 2009 (installation view illustrated in colour, p. 256).
Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Georg Baselitz-Gerhard Richter, 1981 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Gerhard Richter: Abstrakte Bilder 1976-1981, 1982. This exhibition later travelled to Mannheim, Mannheimer Kunstverein.
Rottweil, Forum Rottweil, Sorgfalt '84, 1984 (illustrated, p. 95).
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Gerhard Richter- Retrospective, 1993-94. This exhibition later travelled to Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland; Stockholm, Moderna Museet and Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, no. 457-5 (illustrated in colour, p. 79).
Bolzano, Museion: Museo d'Arte Moderna, Gerhard Richter- Malerei Pittura, 1996 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

'A picture like this is painted in different layers, separated by intervals of time. The first layer mostly represents the background, which has a photographic, illusionistic look to it, though done without using a photograph. This first, smooth, soft-edged paint surface is like a finished picture; but after a while I decide that I understand it or have seen enough of it, and in the next stage of painting I partly destroy it, partly add to it; and so it goes on at intervals, till there is nothing more to do and the picture is finished' (Richter, 1984, quoted in H.-U. Obrist (ed.), Gerhard Richter: The Daily Practice of Painting. Writings and Interviews 1962-1993, trans. D. Britt, London, 1995, p. 112).

The above photograph of Gerhard Richter's studio from 1981, which includes the present work, reveals the rich multiplicity of the artists output during that period, revealing the different ways in which he was engaging with the process and idea of painting. The artist himself is shown staring at the camera through a reflection in Mirror, a work from 1981. Hanging on the wall behind the painter is a range of Abstracts including the present work Abstraktes Bild while, propped in a corner, is a small Colour Chart. This reveals only a fraction of his output from this period, when he was focusing himself more and more on his abstract painting. For, during the same year, he also created several photorealist landscapes showing mountain scenes and ice floes, and only the following year would also begin his celebrated series of Kerzen, or Candles.

Looking at the lush surface of Abstraktes Bild, which has been built up with layer upon layer of paint that has also been scraped, pulled, dragged and removed in order to allow the teasing glimpses of the colours below, the viewer can see the traces of the wide range of techniques that Gerhard Richter uses when creating his Abstracts. Each layer is like a strata or fossil, and in this painting the impact is particularly acute. Interestingly enough, the back of the painting bears a signature and date from 1972 and close inspection of the underpainted surface in the bottom corner and comparison with a group of works of the same scale from that year shows that this picture was formerly in the series of Rot-Blau-Gelb from that date. As part of his larger analysis and deconstruction of the entire concept of painting, in that series, Richter used the three primary colours, red, blue and yellow as the main basis for a series of abstract compositions where the colours were brushed together in a very thin manner, to create a whole variety of visual effects from the most limited of means.

Here, nine years later, Richter has taken this canvas and re-worked it in his maturing abstract style. Over the original painting from 1972, Richter has used his special tools such as the squeegee to create a gravitational pull down the surface that is largely vertical, giving the main parts of the surface an appearance almost like a waterfall of fiery reds, yellows and pinks. Yet any figurative interpretation of this incandescent accumulation of rich colours is negated by the deliberate diagonal stripes of yellow and blue, a form of effacement which also adds a rich dynamism to the picture, heightening the sense of contrast between the colours of the surface. Beneath the surface, the fossil of the older painting is still visible, working in tandem with the new surface, creating a vivid sense of time in this particular work. In Abstraktes Bild, Richter has added an extra layer to that process by re-engaging with Rot-Blau- Gelb, interacting with it, challenging it and questioning it, adding to it until it reached its final stage.

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