Gerhard Richter

Eleanor sent me a link about Gerhard Richter that she had seen on Twitter and said the works looked very like me! So I thought I had better check it out.

Wow! Our end results are really very similar, but the working method to get there is very different.

Taken from Richter’s 4900 Colours microsite, it says of the works

4900 Colours (2007) is composed of 196 panels, each of which consists of 25 squares. Each individual spray-painted enamel square measures 9.7 x 9.7 cm and each panel of 25 squares is supported by Alu-Dibond.

The panels can be arranged in 11 core configurations (each using all 196 panels), ranging from multiple smaller grid combinations of various sizes to just one large-scale work. The 11 variations are presented on this and the following pages.

The order of the coloured squares is based on chance, having been generated randomly by a computer programme. The 11 configurations were selected by Richter and there is no hierarchy among them.

Richter started work on grid paintings as early as 1966, when he reproduced industrial colour charts as used by paint manufacturers. In 1971 the element of chance was introduced into his compositions, with the distribution of colours randomly decided, although there remained a white grid between the colour fields.

Grids comprising a variety of numbers of squares were produced at this time, from 4 Colours (Catalogue Raisonné: 353-1, 1974) to series of works using 1024 and 1025 squares (also 1974) and even as many as 4096 squares in 4096 Colours (CR: 359, 1974). It was in this same year, 1974, that Richter first removed the grid in favour of direct contact between the colours. After an interval of 33 years, Richter returned to grid paintings in 2007.

4900 Colours and the earlier grid paintings have certain formal similarities with Richter’s Cathedral Window (CR: 900), which he designed for the south transept of Cologne Cathedral. The work, which consists of approximately 11,500 squares of glass in 72 colours, was unveiled in 2007 and is based on 4096 Colours (CR: 359). Some of the brightly coloured square panes were arranged randomly, while others were selected in response to the architectural context.

The first few from that microsite are these:



He has also produced strip paintings by digitally manipulating one pixel strips from past paintings. proved to be the best place to find info on these works! I’ve copied the text in below in case the link expires!

Gerhard Richter Goes Digital, Reducing His Old Paintings Into Patterns

One of the most famous living artists has a surprising new show up at Marian Goodman this month.

Last year, Gerhard Richter became the highest-selling artist in the world. In June, the Pompidou Center staged the largest exhibition of his work ever shown. This month, a stunning new documentary called Gerhard Richter Painting, portrays him as a lone genius at the top of his game.

At 80, most artists–especially those who have achieved such astounding critical success–might consider slowing down and enjoying it. But Richter, who is known for his intellectual curiosity and uncompromising rigor, has taken the opportunity to throw himself into another phase of work. Last week, in his ninth solo show at Marian Goodman Gallery, Richter unveiled a series of prints that represent a surprising pivot in the artist’s oeuvre.

We know Richter as an artist deeply committed to the process of painting, and intensely wary of the burden that the past places on the present. Richter grew up in Nazi Germany and was enrolled by his parents in the Hitler Youth; his art career began in earnest when he defected from East Germany. His work since then has vacillated between blurry visions of old photographs to immense abstractions. In Gerhard Richter Painting for example, a camera follows the artist as he scrapes and smears dozens of layers of paint across massive canvases using a giant squeegee. But in Paintings: 2010-11, visitors to Marian Goodman will find a very different sort of process–one that intentionally seems to erase the burden of all those millions of dollars in sales.

In a series called Strip Paintings, Richter cuts a pixel-wide wedge from one of his paintings from 1990. Then, using image editing software, he duplicates each strip thousands of times, producing striated patterns that look like textiles. In other pieces, the repetition of color snippets create raucous optical effects, recalling fractal patterns. The finished images are printed on a plotter and mounted beneath a layer of Perspex.

It would be easy to frame the series as a complete about-face for Richter. And certainly, it’s a surprise to see the painter working digitally for a change. On the other hand, though, he’s been fascinated by the idea of blurring for decades. “I blur things to make everything equally important and equally unimportant,” he said in 1964. “I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth, and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information.”

Does it matter, then, if he’s using a squeegee on a 10-foot-tall canvas, or a Photoshop button on a .tif file? “I don’t believe in the reality of painting, so I use different styles like clothes,” Richter told one interviewer in 1978. “It’s a way to disguise myself.”

Paintings: 2010-11 is on view at Marian Goodman Gallery until October 13th. A national screening schedule for Gerhard Richter Painting is here.

An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the exhibiting gallery. It is Marian, not Mirian, Goodman.

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

Kelsey is a designer, illustrator, and cyclist based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Previously, she was the editor of Architizer.


One response to “Gerhard Richter

  1. Pingback: Gerhard Richter | Amelia Wilson Art·

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