'Gerhard Richter, internationally renowned as a painter, has always had a particular interest in landscape-no other motif has fascinated him to the same extent nor has occupied him over such a long period.
The softly overpainted Views of Corsica from 1968/69 established the landscapes as an independent group of works within Richter's oeuvre- to which he has repeatedly returned ever since.' (D. Elger, 'Gerhard Richter Landscapes', Cantz)
As many of Richter's works Corsica is the result of a mechanical process of a painted reproduction of a photograph. It is the third one of a serie of several photo-realistic paintings executed from the artist snapshots of Corsica during his first holiday ever. In this works Richter's former black and white photo-paintings start to bear a colourful impact announcing the bold polychromy of his 80's landscapes and his future abstract works.
In its will to convey the objective truth of reality photography appears for Richter as an ideal reference: 'the photography is the most perfect picture. It does not change; it is absolute, and therefore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style. Both in its way of informing, and in what it informs of it is my source' (D. Elger, 'Gerhard Richter Landscapes', Cantz, p. 1).
However Richter painting is not the reproduction of a photograph through paint but the photograph is rather a pretext to produce a painting. The artist explains: "If I disregard the assumption that a photograph is a piece of paper exposed to light, then I am practising photography by other means: I'm not producing paintings that remind you of a photograph but producing photographs." (G. Richter, In: 'The Daily Practice of Painting', London 1995, p. 73)
In an interview with Rolf Gunther Dienst in the 70's Richter justifies his new interest for landscape and seascape along with colour as the "subversive intent to paint beautiful pictures". (In ibid., p. 73) Indeed, 'in a time of cultural anarchy that proclaims the death of painting, Richter's dreams of vanished beauty and sublime greatness inevitably arise'. (J. Harten, 'Gerhard Richter', Dumont, p. 47)
In 'Korsica' Richter uses the Romantic appeal of the photograph of an isolated boat in the middle of the sea under a tormented sky to express the beauty of the seascape's light and colours. Detached from its context and signification the picture does not mean to illustrate reality as we see it but rather conveys through the painting medium an abstraction of reality.