Gerhard Richter ‘Abstract Paintings’ on Show in Europe

Gerhard Richter Concurrent Art Shows 2009

The Abstract Art of Gerhard Richter (1932-, Dresden) is currently on show everywhere in Europe, it seems:

* Richter en France, Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
March 07 2009 – June 01 2009

* Gerhard Richter. Abstract Paintings, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
February 27 2009 – May 17 2009

* Gerhard Richter. Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
February 26 2009 – May 31 2009

* Overpainted Photographs, Centre de la photographie, Geneva, Switzerland
February 20 2009 – April 12 2009

* Gerhard Richter. Retrospektive, Albertina, Vienna, Austria
January 30 2009 – May 03 2009

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Gerhard Richter in Germany

If you can just do one show, consider the ‘Gerhard Richter’s Abstract Paintings exhibition at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany. This just-opened show will run until May 17, 2009.

This ‘Gerhard Richter – Abstract Paintings’ exhibition includes 50+, mostly large, format paintings of an incredible painterly poetry appearing like ‘cascades of intoxicatingly psychedelic colours’, to use the words of Tagesspiegel.

Gerhard Richter has been painting his abstract paintings since the ’70s. Today, they comprise nearly 70% of all his work. With its concentration on this type of painting, this exhibition differs from past Richter retrospectives, which primarily focused – each updated – on the proportional shift from the artist’s photograph-based paintings to his abstract ones.

‘For me, there is no difference between a landscape and an abstract picture.’ – Gerhard Richter

These large format paintings usually form a series. They testify to the artist’s continued examination of the conditions of painting: its principles, limits and possibilities. The innate properties of color and form, as well as the inclusion of the painterly process, is of central importance to Richter’s abstractions:

‘I … want to preserve a painting at the end that I had not actually planned for … I, naturally, very much want to preserve something more interesting that what i can invent’.

Thereby, Richter does not start with a predetermined motif for his abstract paintings, but rather works until the picture is recognisable – a working process that the artist describes as ‘meticulously planned spontaneity’.

Gerhard Richter ‘Abstract Paintings’ Art Exhibtion, painting Wald 2005

Wald, 2005; Gerhard Richter

During an intensive creative process color elements and structures are applied with paintbrushes, scrapers and spatulas layer by layer; already existing layers are overlaid, expunged or exposed by scraping. The tools’ and coatings’ traces add themselves to the spatial or landscape-like structures, though, without ever compacting into a recognizable object.

Some of Richter’s abstract paintings pass through more than thirty stages of which nothing more than a hint remains at the end, and, yet, these are a significant part of the finished work. In one way, the abstract paintings clearly attest to their origination process, but in another way they shroud exactly this.

Show Address: Haus der kunst, Prinzregentenstrasse 1, München, Germany. For more info:

About Gerhard Richter’s Art in General

The British Guardian considers Gerhard Richter a ‘Picasso of the 21st century’, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper sees him as ‘the master of all genres’.

Gerhard Richter became famous with his photo realist paintings in the 1960s, although his oeuvre comprises monochrome and abstract paintings, graphic prints, works in glass and sculptures.

Gerhard Richter in the States

If you can’t make it to Europe this Spring, consider a trip to Los Angeles, where Gerhard Richter is part of a group show ‘Art of Two Germanys. Cold War Cultures’. You can find the show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, US. It is on now and will run till April 19 2009.

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