Art History – Gerhard Richter

Whether you’re interested in art history or not, there are many reasons to learn more about Gerhard Richter’s work. You’ll find out about his early paintings, his influences, his color charts and even his photo-painting style.

Gerhard Richter

Early paintings

During the early years of Gerhard Richter’s career, he was a prolific and creative artist. He began drawing at an early age, and was exposed to artists such as Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock, and William Turnbull. He also absorbed the influence of western art, such as the Romantic and German Expressionist movements.

During the 1950s, Gerhard Richter was also an active member of the socialist-realist movement. His early paintings demonstrate his influence from these movements. He uses a distinctive technique to produce his work. His signature style includes layers of pigments packed densely on the canvas. He sometimes uses a squeegee instead of a paintbrush. This creates new textures. He has also created murals for state-owned businesses. He is also a professor at the Kunstakamedie, Dusseldorf.

During the 1960s, Richter worked as a socialist-realist muralist in East Germany. He became friends with Blinky Palermo and Sigmar Polke. The two of them exhibited together.

When Richter left East Germany, he settled in Dusseldorf. He also collaborated with several galleries, including Konrad Fischer, who showcased the leading artists of the Minimal and Conceptual Art movement.

In his paintings, he often features blurring of the painted layers. He has also invented a unique technique called Vermalung, or Inpaintings. He has used photographic reference to create Erschossener 1, which depicts a dead inmate. The image is a powerful statement on the futility of trying to capture the truth in any painting.

Throughout his career, Richter has oscillated between photo-based pictures and outright abstractions. His most famous series is the October 18, 1977 series, which is derived from press photographs and police images. It is a small collection of 15 works, and is notable for its monumentality.

Color charts

During his period of intensive experimentation, Richter created a series of Colour Charts. Initially inspired by a paint sample card found in a hardware store, Richter developed mathematical procedures for mixing colours. He then applied these methods to his paintings.

Gerhard Richter first exhibited his Color Charts in Munich in 1966. The exhibition included nineteen works. He then continued painting on this subject in 1971, forming his second Colour Charts series. The first of these paintings, 192 Farben (192 Colours), was a radical departure from his previous black and white Photo Paintings.

The emergence of the Color Charts was an important turning point in Richter’s career. They mark the beginning of his multicoloured Abstract Paintings of the 1970s. These Color Charts also set the stage for large-scale public art commissions.

The early Colour Charts were unsystematic and were intended to highlight the possibilities of contemporary abstraction. They retained the aesthetics of Minimalist Art, but also incorporated elements of Pop Art. Originally, Richter’s intention was to imitate a paint sample card in a commercial setting. He reproduced the cards as industrial pigments, but he also developed chance operations for placement.

The method became more systematic as the series developed. By the time the second series was completed, Richter had created a range of sixteen, 64 and 256 shades of color. These shades were then randomly allocated to the squares in a grid.

In 2007, Richter completed a stained glass window for the Kolner Dom in Cologne Cathedral. The 11,500 pixels in this work form a reference to the sexless nature of the Divine.

In addition to the aforementioned works, the Gerhard Richter Archive includes documentation of the development of the early Colour Charts. These include sketches, notes, and mathematical notations.

Photo-painting style

Using a squeegee instead of a brush, Richter’s photo-painting style produces a multitude of textures, and creates new depths. The use of a squeegee allows him to ‘pack’ colour across a canvas in dense layers, and this is one of the most prominent features of his work.

In the early 1970s, Richter began working on his abstract paintings. This included the first gray monochrome painting, which consisted of only the textures created by a variety of different paint applications.

He also experimented with his trademark color chart paintings in the 1970s and 1980s. The first of these, titled the “Grosse Teyde-Landschaft” (“Great Tenerife Landscape”), is inspired by the holiday images of Tenerife’s volcanic areas.

The “magic of the color wheel” was also a big part of his art. He mastered the technique of combining colors using mathematical processes. He also experimented with digital prints.

During the 1950s, Richter studied art in Dresden. This was a city under communist rule. He also lived through World War II, but he was too young to understand the ideological aspects of war. He moved to Dusseldorf in 1961, where he was a photo-laboratory technician. He enrolled at the local Kunstakademie, and soon began producing works.

He had his first solo show in 1963. His work was featured in several group exhibitions. He represented Germany at the 1972 Venice Biennale. He was also awarded the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in Vienna in 1985. He has been a professor at the Staatliche Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, since 1971. His work has been exhibited at leading galleries around the globe. He has had several major exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London in 1991. He also received the Arnold-Bode-Preis at Documenta 7 in 1982.

Abstract paintings

Throughout his career, Gerhard Richter has created a series of abstract paintings that have influenced the way people view art. These works have been characterized by their technical, painterly, and physical qualities.

Richter was born in Dresden in 1932. He is a renowned post-war artist who was widely recognized for his abstract paintings. However, he was criticized for not being identified with any particular artistic movement. His work was a radical departure from the style of the Abstract Expressionists. Instead, he wanted to create a style that paralleled natural processes.

Although his abstract paintings appear to be beautiful, they are not infused with any personal emotion. These are often described as “isolated moments of pure visual pleasure.” The title of one painting, Birkenau, is a provocative one. It suggests that the viewer is looking through a window. But the work is actually a depiction of the death of a German terrorist.

Using the technique of wet-on-wet painting, Richter creates dense layers of paint across the canvas. He does this by raking the pasty material in a mechanical way, resulting in an effect that suggests a shallow, mirror-like space.

Rhythmic, alternating line and blur is produced by Richter’s body movements, allowing the paint to move in a heady start and stop of intentionality. The artist is also credited with incorporating dry brush techniques and squeegees in his process.

In addition to his abstract paintings, Richter has also produced a number of figurative paintings, including his famous Baader-Meinhof series. This series chronicled the controversial deaths of young German terrorists in Stammheim prison. These images were often painted using photographic references. Despite the fact that the terrorists’ actions were deemed as a crime against humanity, their deaths were mysterious and unsolved.

Influence on German Romanticism

Despite his affiliation with the Romantic movement, Gerhard Richter has refused to identify himself with a particular artistic tradition. Instead, he has created his own unique visual language. He uses a highly layered style of painting that has become a hallmark of his work.

During his early career, Richter worked in a realistic style. He began to question the aesthetics of realist imagery. His early paintings portrayed exotic objects such as black and white newspaper clippings and luxury items. He also experimented with color. He found his inspiration in Jackson Pollock’s abstract work.

His abstract canvases are characterized by many layers and strokes. They have a sickly whiteness and clashing red and green colors. Some are based on photographic reference, while others were made by accident. He uses paint with rollers and aggressive squeegee sweeps. He also employs gesture. His use of color suggests the illusion of space. His canvases lack traces of personal emotion, but he encourages viewers to enjoy the beauty of the object.

Although German Romanticism influenced his work, Richter has rejected traditional painting. He has responded to the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. He has also explored nature for inspiration. He has a characteristically postmodern attitude toward grand ambitions.

The tumultuous times in which we live have shaped our attitudes towards art. Richter’s artwork responds to these events. He has used a photographic reference to create a series of paintings called Erschossener 1: “The Dead Inmate.” This image represents the vanity behind terrorists’ actions. It also represents the eternal mystery of terrorists’ death.

The exhibition includes a number of Richter’s works, such as the October 18, 1977 series, which depicts radical Baader-Meinhof terrorists. It is a rare type of work in his oeuvre.