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  • Provenance

    Galerie M. Bochum, Berlin; Private Collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay


    “When I first painted a number of canvases grey all over (about eight years ago), I did so because I did not know what to paint, or what there might be to paint: so wretched a start could lead to nothing meaningful. As time went on, however, I observed differences of quality among the grey surfaces – and also that these betrayed nothing of the destructive motivation that lay behind them. The pictures began to teach me. By generalizing a personal dilemma, they resolved it. Destitution became a constructive statement; it became relative perfection, and therefore painting. Grey. It makes no statement whatever; it evokes neither feelings nor associations; it is really neither visible nor invisible.
    “Its inconspicuousness gives it the capacity to mediate, to make visible, in a positively illusionistic way, like a photograph. It has the capacity that no other colour has, to make ‘nothing’ visible. To me, grey is the welcome and only possible equivalent for indifference, non-commitment, absence of opinion, absence of shape. But grey, like formlessness and the rest, can be real only as an idea, and so all I can do is create a colour nuance that means grey but is not it.
    “The painting is then a mixture of grey as a fiction and grey as a visible, designated area of colour. Finally; this kind of reductionist painting fascinates me in general, because I believe that it is a highly scrupulous and cautious attempt to achieve correctness, or rather definitiveness, in painting; that it pursues a quality which tends towards the valid and the universal. This seems to me important, in the face of a mindless, proliferating productivity that becomes less and less definitive.”
    (Gerhard Richter, ‘Letter to E. de Wilde’, 1975, quoted in H.-U. Obrist, ed., Gerhard Richter, The Daily Practice of Painting, London 1995, pp. 82 – 83).

  • 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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17

Graues Bild I

1971
Oil on paper mounted on panel.
85.7 x 61 cm (33 3/4 x 24 in).

Signed and dated 'Gerhard Richter Sept. 1971' on the reverse.

Estimate
£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £91,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010
London