Artist Gerhard Richter. Ten things you should know about the most appreciated European artist of the moment: bio, gallery, video, quotes… Art History!
1.- Gerhard Richter is a German artist born in Dresden, Germany, in 1932. His father was a teacher and his childhood was marked by the crisis of the 30s.
2.- The events of World War II filled his childhood with tragic moments. In 1942, he was forced to join the Hitler Youth. His aunt Marianne Schoenfelder (1917-1945) was eliminated as part of the euthanasia program established by the Nazis. And Dresden, his hometown, was badly bombed, the move to Walterstorf saved the family. The atrocities of the period made him reject any ideology and embrace a deep love for nature.
“Politicians are nauseating by definition… They can produce nothing, neither a loaf of bread nor a table nor a picture; and this inability to create value, this total inferiority, makes them jealous, vengeful, insolent and a menace to life and limb.” Gerhard Richter.
3.- Being very young, he began an apprenticeship as a painter of advertising and scenarios, before studying at the Dresden Art Academy. His teachers were Karl von Appen, Ulrich Lohmar and Will Grohmann. He graduated in 1956. But his first pictures: Communion with Picasso; and The Joy of Life, were repainted for ideological reasons after Gerhard Richter escaped from East Germany to go to the West, two months before construction of the Berlin Wall.
4.- In Düsseldorf (1961-64), he creates paintings that fused the journalistic iconography and family portraits, with an austere realism based on the photograph (Helga Matura,1966).
5.- The artist began his independent series of landscapes in 1968 after his first vacation, an excursion that landed him besotted with the terrain of Corsica. In fact, he is following the great historical tradition of German Romantic Painting.
6.- In 1982 and 1983, Richter made a series of paintings of Candles and Skulls that relate to an enduring tradition of still life memento mori painting. Each composition is most commonly based on a photograph taken by Richter in his own studio.
7.- Since 1989, Richter has worked on creating new images by dragging wet paint over photographs, not all taken by Richter himself. They are mostly snapshots of daily life: family vacations, pictures of friends, mountains, buildings and streetscapes.
8.- In 2003, he produced several paintings with the same title: Silicate: large oil-on-canvas paintings, rows of light and dark-grey blobs whose angles modulating from painting to painting.
“Gray is the color… the most important of all… absent of opinion, nothing, neither/nor.” Gerhard Richter.
9.- Richter was flying to New York on September 11, 2001, but due to the 9/11 attacks, including on the World Trade Center, his plane was diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia. A few years later, he made one small painting specifically about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center.
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10.- Anyway, his Abstract Work is the most famous and its remarkable for the illusion of space that develops, full of spontaneous, reactive gestures of adding, moving, and subtracting paint. This February 2015, his painting Abstraktes Bild sold for £30.4 million in London at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale.
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