Gerhard Richter - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 27, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich
    Private Collection
    Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
    Private Collection
    Phillips, New York, 15 May 2015, lot 239
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Kunsthalle Bielefeld; Mannheimer Kunstverein, Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings 1976 to 1981, 10 January – 16 May, 1982

  • Literature

    J. Harten et al, Gerhard Richter Bilder / Paintings 1962 - 1985, Düsseldorf, 1986, pp. 391, 392; p. 229 (illustrated)
    Gerhard Richter: Paintings, exh. cat., Marian Goodman Gallery/Sperone Westwater, New York, 1987, p. 6
    Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland ed., Gerhard Richter, Werkübersicht/ Catalogue Raisonné 1962 - 1993 vol. III, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1993, no. 454-4, n.p. (illustrated)
    Dietmar Elger, Gerhard Richter Catalogue Raisonné Nos. 389-651-2 Volume 3 1976-1987, Ostfildern, 2013, p. 172 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The visceral surface of Abstraktes Bild (454-4), emerging through layers of dragged paint in varying hues of orange-red and tangerine, contributes to the work’s distinct palimpsest-like quality. Depth is both insinuated and eradicated as the vibrant surface of the picture plane displays the artist’s energetic movements. However, one can be deceived by its seemingly impulsive appearance as Richter himself commented: ‘the whole thing looks very spontaneous. But in between [the layers] there are usually long intervals of time, and those destroy a mood. It is a highly planned kind of spontaneity'. (Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Gerhard Richter, Gerhard Richter: The Daily Practice of Painting. Writings and Interviews 1962-1993, Cambridge MA: MIT Press, London/UK Anthony d'Offay, 1995, p. 112)

    Richter’s method for creating this work adopted a technique of building up layers of paint using a method similar to a la prima meaning ‘wet on wet’. By painting sections and then blending the top layers with the undercoat, Richter began not only to explore the levels that could be created through impasto-like application but also to discover the effects that could be developed by adding carnation oil to the painting in order to keep the layers moist throughout the process.
    Thus, in Abstraktes Bild (454-4), Richter highlights one of the central paradoxes that lies at the core of his abstract experimentation; the marriage between an Abstract Expressionistic spontaneity and a planned rhythmical structure. The monochromatic works form perhaps the purest expression of Richter’s unique and vastly influential investigation into the nature of painting, and offer an insight into his most piercing of questions – “how painting could be made without treating colour as a compositional element, and how the practice of painting could continue without subjective content.” (M. Godfrey, “Damaged Landscapes”, Gerhard Richter: Panorama, p. 86)

  • Artist Biography

    Gerhard Richter

    German • 1932

    Powerhouse painter Gerhard Richter has been a key player in defining the formal and ideological agenda for painting in contemporary art. His instantaneously recognizable canvases literally and figuratively blur the lines of representation and abstraction. Uninterested in classification, Richter skates between unorthodoxy and realism, much to the delight of institutions and the market alike. 

    Richter's color palette of potent hues is all substance and "no style," in the artist's own words. From career start in 1962, Richter developed both his photorealist and abstracted languages side-by-side, producing voraciously and evolving his artistic style in short intervals. Richter's illusory paintings find themselves on the walls of the world's most revered museums—for instance, London’s Tate Modern displays the Cage (1) – (6), 2006 paintings that were named after experimental composer John Cage and that inspired the balletic 'Rambert Event' hosted by Phillips Berkeley Square in 2016. 

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Property of an Important European Collector


Abstraktes Bild (454-4)

signed, numbered and dated "454/4 Richter, 80" on the reverse. This work is listed in the Richter Catalogue Raisonné under number: 454-4.
oil on canvas
45 x 35 cm (17 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1980.

HK$2,400,000 - 3,500,000 

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2017