Always elusive, Gerhard Richter has vacillated between abstraction and realism since the mid-1960's, eluding categorization as either a realist or abstract painter. Within Richter's abstractions, there is a incredible breadth of work, spanning his monochromatic and hard-edged paintings, painterly studies in grisaille and impossibly garish bursts of high-key color. Richter is not really an abstract or a realist painter, but more accurately a Conceptual artist, with each painting, or series of paintings representing a new approach informed by ideas, rather than an abstract expression of angst or a straightforward depiction.
Abstraktes Bild is from a highly sought after series of abstract paintings executed in 1993. Its regulated composition of horizontal strokes, painted in green and earth tones with occasionally flashes of red, adds to the strong feeling of landscape. Abstraktes Bild's top layers have been scraped off in thick horizontal strokes, allowing the underlying layers to show through at sporadic intervals. The painting brings to mind reflections on the water or light on a mountainous landscape and it has a contemplative quality that many of his best soft-focus realist landscapes possess.
Richter in his studio, 1995-1996