Gerhard Richter - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips
  • “With a brush you have control. The paint goes on the brush and you make the mark. From experience you know exactly what will happen. With the squeegee you lose control”
    — Gerhard Richter
    One of the most eclectic and technically skilled contemporary artists, Gerhard Richter has explored for decades the possibilities offered by the abstract and the figurative in visual representations. 'I don't believe in the reality of painting' – he has stated – 'so I use different styles like clothes: it's a way to disguise myself'.For the German painter, the dichotomy between figuration and abstraction is only fictional, since both approaches require the same accuracy in colour and composition. Well renowned for his masterly figurative technique, of which his photorealist paintings are a poignant demonstration, the artist has started to experiment with abstraction in the 1970s, making works that critics have often defined as 'gestural' or 'painterly'. Their texture and arrangement – blurry, colourful and rough – reveal what tools and techniques were used for their execution, and offer an idea of the complex thought process behind the creation of each piece.


    Beyond the apparent haphazardness of the colour distribution and accretion across the surface of the canvas lies, in fact, an almost obsessive, systematic, ritualistic painting method: 'the beginning is actually quite easy, because I can still be quite free about the way I handle things – colours, shapes. And so a picture emerges that may look quite good for a while, so airy and colourful and new. But that will only last for a day at most, at which point it starts to look cheap and fake. And then the real work begins – changing, eradicating, starting again, and so on, until it's done'. ii


    Grün-Blau-Rot, painted in 1993, is part of a prolific series of 105 works on canvas in the same format, all revolving around the endless chromatic and visual variations which can be obtained by mixing three colours – green, blue and red – with a squeegee. In the present piece, made of voluptuous, hazy, melting lines, the colours smoothly blend into each other, beautifully expanding across the canvas as a result of the soft pressure and levelling action applied by the blade.


    Gerhard Richter, Grün-Blau-Rot (Edition für Parkett), 1993


    A parallel can be drawn between Grün-Blau-Rot and the 1910 painting Music by Henry Matisse. Richter’s choice to only work with three colours, and explore the visual effects which result from the combination of these nuances, recalls the French painter’s vibrant depiction of two musicians and their audience made of three people, which, likewise, focuses exclusively on the same three main tones: green, blue and red.


    Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, Germany, and studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. Celebrated globally as one of the most important artists of his generation, his painting style and production have explored numerous conceptual and formal possibilities. In April 2023, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin will inaugurate a permanent exhibition with 100 of his works. The Gerhard Richter Archive was established as an institute of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in 2005.



    Gerhard Richter, quoted in Gerhard Richter, online.

    ii Gerhard Richter, quoted in Gerhard Richter, online.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      Sotheby's, London, 22 June 2006, lot 241
      Private Collection
      Seoul Auction, Hong Kong, 4 April 2010, lot 34
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Silent & Violent: Selected Artists' Editions, 19 March - 31 August 1995
      New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Collaborations with Parkett: 1984 to Now, 5 April - 5 June 2001
      Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Beautiful Productions: Parkett Editions since 1984, 21 June - 28 October 2002
      Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Parkett – 20 Years of Artists' Collaborations, 26 November 2004 - 13 February 2005
      Kanazawa, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, 200 Artworks – 25 Years, Artists' Editions for Parkett, 4 September - 26 September 2009

    • Literature

      Suzanne Pagé, Wenzel Jacob, Björn Springfield, Kasper König and Benjamin Buchloh, Gerhard Richter: Catalogue Raisonné 1962 - 1993, Volume 3, Berlin, 1993, pp.142, 196, no.789/1-115 (illustrated, p. 142)
      Hubertus Butin, Stefan Gronert, and Thomas Olbricht, Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965-2013 Catalogue Raisonné, Berlin, 2014, pp. 43, 252 (illustrated)
      Stefan Gronert and Hubertus Butin, Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965-2004 Catalogue Raisonné, Berlin, 2004, no.81, pp.35-36, 229, (illustrated)
      Dietmar Elger, Gerhard Richter Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 4: Nos.652-1 - 805-6 (1988-1994), Berlin, 2015, no.789/1-115, pp.524-525 (Illustrated, p.525)

    • 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. 

      View More Works



signed, numbered and dated '789-93 Richter, 93' on the reverse
oil on canvas
29.6 x 39.4 cm. (11 5/8 x 15 1/2 in.)
Painted in 1993.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 

Sold for HK$3,556,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 March 2023