This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Mixed Media, 1974
Signed Mixed Media Edition of 60
H 40cm x W 50cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Created in 1974, Grau is a mixed media artwork by Gerhard Richter, inspired by his famous Grey Paintings series. Released in a limited edition of 60, the artwork reflects the artist’s grappling with the entangled relationship between reality and representation. Grey Paintings, a series of canvases consisting exclusively of uninterrupted layers of grey oil paint, represent Richter’s period of distrust in the possibility of knowing and representing reality.
Grau confronts the viewer with a representation of the grey surface, unaccompanied by any colourful or figurative details. The subject of the artwork is the colour of the paint and its application itself. Richter’s choice of colour relates to its symbolic force, one aligning with the artist’s growing sense in the early 1970s that painting could never get close to the core of reality and instead only creates its “fictive models”. Grey, according to Richter, is “more than any other colour qualified not to represent anything at all”. As a neutral colour, grey is meant to correspond with a sense of despair over the impossibility of knowing and representing.
Described by the artist as “the most complete ones, which I could imagine”, such artworks as Grau represent Richter’s intellectual restlessness and an ongoing preoccupation with the nature of painting. Grau represents Richter’s exploration of a colour that has been a subject of interest to some of the most highly acclaimed twentieth-century artists, including Alberto Giacommetti, René Magritte or Pablo Picasso. The artwork links Richter to a rich lineage of artists for whom grey became a medium for engaging with the problems of painting.