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Elisabeth II - Signed Print by Gerhard Richter 1966 - MyArtBroker

Elisabeth II
Signed Print

Gerhard Richter


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Lithograph, 1966
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 70cm x W 60cm

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Meaning & Analysis

In this image, Richter reproduces the iconic image of Queen Elisabeth II. A visual response to what were contemporary events at that time, the image contains resonances of other similar works, such as Mao (1968) and the world-famous Betty (1991) - a portrait of Richter’s daughter drawn from a photograph from the artist’s Atlas. In this work, the importance of photography to Richter’s œuvre is re-asserted. Turning to a source image most likely reproduced from a photograph and printed in a newspaper, Richter accentuates the abstraction that comes about during the printing process - an effect named halftone. Elisabeth II also foretells of Richter’s interest, during the 1970s, in the subversion of the historical or traditional portrait. In 1972, Richter completed the acclaimed 48 Portraits (1972) series, which was first exhibited at the 1972 Venice Biennale. Comprising 48 individual portraits of influential men, including Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein, Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, and Thomas Mann, the series helped to launch Richter’s career internationally.

Moving to Düsseldorf in 1961, having fled the German Democratic Republic just months before the building of the Berlin Wall, Richter adopted an entirely new artistic style. Surrounded by the bewildering affluence of the city of Düsseldorf - known for housing the offices of West German industrialists and multinationals - Richter worked to revolted against his prior training in socialist realist art. Alongside influential Contemporary artists, Sigmund Polke and Konrad Fisher, he founded the ‘Capitalist Realist’ movement. This was fixated with responding to the iconographies of Western Capitalism as they emerged in West Germany’s Post-War boom - a drawn-out period of unparalleled economic growth nicknamed the Wirtschaftswunder, or ‘economic miracle’.

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