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10.02.2010

 

Gerhard Richter : Portraits - a wonderful coffee table book on the subjects of his paintings

In the 1960s Gerhard Richter began painting pictures of found photographs. The copied paintings do not try to compete with the documentary element of the photos; instead, the blurring of contours accentuates the painting’s life of its own. Ever since then, portraits have been a reoccurring theme in his entire painterly work. A large format book, dedicated to his ‘people pictures’, is out now.

Gerhard Richter is Germany’s most famous painter both in the country and on an international scale. We have been consumed with questions on his works for quite some time now: what do these personal images and portraits of historical figures tell us about Richter’s painting? What are the stories behind the people? How do these pieces mirror central questions in German Post War history in art?

The most important paintings are introduced, with individual backgrounds of the portrayed people and explanations of what the portrait means in the sense of the great artist’s work – as well as what role the genre plays in today’s art world.

An area of work based on German history developed in Richter’s view of the figure, reflecting people in private, as well as familial, historical and political aspects. His female images are amongst the most reproduced pictures of the past few years – ‘Betty’, a dreamy back view of his oldest daughter in a red floral jacket is an example of this.

The large format book, which is based on the already legendary exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, presents portraits by Gerhard Richter from international private and public collections. The publication clarifies the range of his creations, which form this important part of his work.

The selection of work spans from 1960 up to the present. Black and white paintings are on show, inspired by photographs in magazines, paintings that are based on private snapshots and current, new works.

Gerhard Richter was born in 1932, Dresden, where he studied at the Art Academy from 1952 until 1956 and worked as a master scholar until 1959. In 1962, he moved to Düsseldorf and studied at the Art Academy, where he met Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg and Blinky Palermo.

He has been a professor at the Art Academy Düsseldorf since 1971. In 2002, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of his work. His window was installed in the Cologne Dom Cathedral in 2007. Gerhard Richter lives in Cologne.

Richter once said ‘my pictures are more clever than me’. Let’s go see for ourselves!

Die Porträts von Gerhard Richter
(Portraits by Gerhard Richter)
Author: Paul Moorhouse
Publisher: Dumont
176 pages, Hardcover
EUR 49,95
ISBN 978-3-8321-9154-2

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“

Gerhard Richter : „Portraits“