Gerhard Richter - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Karsten Schubert, Ltd., London

  • Exhibited

    Amsterdam, Museum Overholland, Gerhard Richter: Works on Paper 1983-1986, February 20 - April 20, 1987
    London, Karsten Schubert, Gerhard Richter: Works on Paper, July 12 - August 30, 1987

  • Literature

    C. Braun, Gerhard Richter: Werken op Papier 1983-1986, exh. cat., Museum Overholland, 1987, p. 73 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Perhaps because I'm a bit uncertain, a bit volatile...I'd always been fascinated by abstraction. It's so mysterious, like an unknown land."
    Gerhard Richter, 2011

    Gerhard Richter’s oeuvre is as experimental and varied as it is superb. His forays into different media and styles from paintings, sculptures and prints, to abstraction, photo-realism, and computer-generated graphics mark his creative output as one of the most highly developed and successful of the 20th and 21st centuries. His intimately beautiful painting on paper, 8.12.85, from 1985 is indicative of this experimentation and mastery.

    Richter embarked on his celebrated Abstraktes Bild series in 1976 and these squeegeed, lush abstractions have been the hallmark of career ever since. Abstraktes Bild, which simply translates from German to Abstract Painting, exemplifies the pivotal moment when the artist consciously abandoned his figurative practice in what constituted a dramatic departure from his previous works. This fantastic piece is a continuation of this exploration into abstraction but on a markedly different scale. Whereas some of the larger works seem to impart their energy through brute force, this work does so through the sheer dynamism of his technical painterly prowess. Painted as part of a sort of diary type series of works each titled with the date of their creation, 8.12.85 positively explodes with the effervescent energies of its fiery reds, smooth blues, sunny yellows and creamy whites. Applying the paint in layers, Richter then proceeds to scrape, smear and slide the paint across the paper, revealing both the singular intent of the artist and the organic will of the paint to acquire and create its own reality separate from Richter’s hand. These revelations draw in the viewer, at once elusive and evocative, universal and subjective.

    At a time when it is argued that we have gone beyond painting in art, Richter demonstrates that questions of this medium continue to prove vitally relevant to artistic practice. The rigorous and meticulous technique that he invented for the Abstraktes Bild is applied here on a much more intimate immediately nuanced scale. 8.12.85 clearly establishes a dialogue between object and viewer, chance and choice all while paying homage to the greatest abstract artists of the twentieth century, of which Richter is irrefutably one.

  • 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




oil, watercolor on paper
6 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (16 x 23.8 cm)
Signed and dated "8.12.85 Richter" on the reverse.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $197,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am