Gerhard Richter - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London
    Private Collection, Germany
    Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, Texas
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "..All that I am trying to do in each picture is to bring together the most disparate and mutually contradictory elements, alive and viable, in the greatest possible freedom" (G. Richter and B. Buchloh, Gerhard Richter: Painting, London, 1988 p. 33).

    Grün Blau Rot 789-5 forms part of Gerhard Richter’s theoretical inquiry into the possibilities of painting and the compositional challenges of abstraction. Executed in 1993 in collaboration with Parkett Magazine, the present lot belongs to a series of 115 works, each uniquely painted in a similar format. Adopting the use of oil-based pigments and the artist’s iconic squeegee technique, the regimented process employed by Richter throughout his Abstraktes Bild series, is the aesthesis to the textural and arbitrary paint deposit. Exploring the instantaneous moment of creation, Richter’s device is purposely uncontrollable via the hand of the artist and purely facilitates the application of paint, rather than the final composition. The resulting bands and smears of vibrant reds rupture as they sprawl across the canvas and gradually merge into the deep blue striations to right of the work. This pull of red and blue paint across the canvas both conceals and unveils the acidic green under-paint freely and sporadically emerging throughout the surface plain. Embodying this iconic motive in Richter’s oeuvre, the present lot reflects on the artist’s “reality, problems, difficulties and contradictions" in approaching the tradition of painting.

  • 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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Untitled (11.4.88)

watercolour and graphite on paper
16 x 23.5 cm (6 1/4 x 9 1/4 in)
Signed and dated 'Richter 17.4.88' upper centre.

£45,000 - 55,000 ♠†

Contemporary Art Day Sale

29 June 2012