Painted during his first forays into purely abstract modes of expression, Untitled, 1970, forms an exciting example of Richter's multiplicity of pictorial concepts, bridging the gap between his early photo-paintings and the earliest stages of his abstract paintings. Consequently, in the present work, we see Richter marry two of his most iconic subjects and motifs: the clouds and the purely abstract.
What is most characteristic of Richter's practice is his refusal to take a standpoint with regard to the content of his works: "What should I paint, how should I paint? The 'what' is the biggest problem, because it's the main thing." (M. Brehm, 'The Constitution of Visual Truth During Painting', in Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer, exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 1996, p. 44).
With his photo-painting technique he has found a remedy to this dilemma by basing his paintings on photographs found in newspapers and magazines, and by blurring the boundaries of these source images. Consequently, around the time Untitled was painted, Richter gradually abandoned photo-painting and began focusing his practice on landscapes, seascapes and clouds, thus anticipating the interest in abstract motifs that would go on to characterize his later oeuvre. Retaining the element of photo-painting against a cloud landscape, Untitled very distinctively juxtaposes figurative with abstract elements, thus becoming representative of two of the most iconic motifs of Richter's pictorial practice.