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Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT BRITISH COLLECTION
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)

Musa

Details
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Musa
signed and numbered '7/8 Richter' (on a label on the reverse)
Jacquard-woven tapestry, Trevira CS, cotton, wool, silk and acrylic
107 ½ x 148 7/8in. (273 x 378cm.)
Executed in 2009, this work is number seven from an edition of eight plus two artist’s proofs
Provenance
Private Collection, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013.
Literature
H. Butin, S. Gronert and T. Olbricht, Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965–2013, Ostfildern Ruit 2014, p. 313, no. 141 (detail in studio installation illustrated in colour, p. 2; illustrated in colour, p. 313).
The FLAG Art Foundation and Gregory R Miller & Co., The FLAG Art Foundation 2008-2018, New York 2018 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 18-19, 125 & 195).
Exhibited
London, Gagosian Gallery, Gerhard Richter: Tapestries, 2013, p. 43 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour, pp. 19 & 45; installation view illustrated in colour, p. 3; detail illustrated in colour, pp. 46-47).
New York, The FLAG Art Foundation, FLAG’s 5th Anniversary Group Exhibition, 2013 (another from the edition exhibited).
Munich, Kunstbau, Gerhard Richter: Atlas, 2013–2014 (another from the edition exhibited).
Dusseldorf, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Gerhard Richter – Die Kunst im Plural, 2014 (another from the edition exhibited).
Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Art & Textiles: Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present, 2013–2014, p. 371 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour, p. 275). This exhibition later travelled to Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie.
New York, The FLAG Art Foundation, Etel Adnan / Gerhard Richter, 2017 (another from the edition exhibited).
Essen, Museum Folkwang, Gerhard Richter: Die Editionen, 2017, pp. 7, 13 & 30 (another from the edition exhibited).
Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery, Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images, 2017–2018, p. 156 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour, p. 135).
Southampton, John Hansard Gallery, Gerhard Richter, 2018 (another from the edition exhibited).
New York, The Shed, Reich Richter Pärt, 2019 (another from the edition exhibited).
Special Notice

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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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Head of Evening Auction

Lot Essay

A monumental vision stretching nearly four metres in width, Musa belongs to Gerhard Richter’s ground-breaking series of tapestries. Created in 2009, these four works represent an extraordinary chapter in the artist’s six-decade oeuvre, demonstrating a bold embrace of new media in his long-running thesis on abstraction. Woven on a mechanical jacquard loom, the tapestries are based on his 1990 painting Abstraktes Bild 724-4, which became the inspiration for a number of innovative projects during the 2000s. In each of the four works, a section of the painting is reproduced in one of the lower corners and mirrored in rotation across the remaining three quadrants of the tapestry. The result is a kaleidoscopic new pattern, structured like a classic Rorschach test. Unlike the other three works in the series, which are based on single quadrants of the 1990 canvas, Musa uses the entire painting as its base image. The work is reproduced in its correct orientation in the lower left-hand corner, before being flipped three times in anti-clockwise motion. For Richter, the tapestries marked a new phase in his investigation into the relationship between chance and control, previously expressed through his signature squeegeed canvases. Drawing upon the artist’s much-discussed affinity with music, Francesco Bonami likens their elegant repeated structures to a Schoenberg quartet; indeed, three examples recently featured as part of a joint installation project with composer Arvo Pärt at The Shed, New York. Merging a centuries-old decorative craft with the language of painterly abstraction, the present work is a masterful enigma that – like so much of Richter’s art – hovers illusively between categories.

Between 2008 and 2013, on the brink of his eightieth birthday, Richter undertook some of his most complex technical experiments. Taking Abstraktes Bild 724-4 as his muse, the artist made a number of diverse editioned works that sought to analyse various aspects of the painting’s DNA. In Sieben Zwei Vier (2008), he reproduced an out-of-focus colour photograph of the work; in Patterns (2011), he made an artist’s book documenting the various permutations that could be created by dividing the painting into different-sized vertical sections. In his four Strip works, created between 2011 and 2013, he made digital ink-jet prints based on details of the painting that were fragmented and mirrored multiple times. Through these endeavours, the artist sought to extract meaning from the frenzy of the painting’s original surface, transforming it into a series of rhythmic calculations. The tapestries, in particular, invite comparison with the work of Alighiero Boetti, whose own textile works played with the relationship between order and chaos. ‘The hand of the artist has disappeared to make room for the mechanics of a mystical experience’, writes Bonami. ‘In the future these tapestries may be seen not as art but as spiritual vessels with symbolic meaning, like that carried by Native American weavings. Their titles add another layer of complexity. Musa, Yusuf, Iblan, and Abdu seem to refer to Sufism and the culture of Persia and the Middle East. They might even eventually become carpet prayers’ (F. Bonami, ‘The Accidental Healer’, in Gerhard Richter: Tapestries, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, London, 2013, p. 11). The dialogue between process and visual effect had been at the core of Richter’s practice since the 1960s: here, the artist weaves mystery and magic from the mechanical.

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