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Gerhard Richter: Abstraktes Bild (P1) - Unsigned Print

Abstraktes Bild (P1)
Unsigned Print

Gerhard Richter


This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.

Digital Print, 1990
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
H 92cm x W 126cm

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

Instantly recognisable as an example of Richter’s work, Abstraktes Bild (P1) speaks to the complexity and diversity of the seminal German artist’s deconstructive approach to painting. Contrasting with Richter’s historical, photographic paintings, such as Elisabeth II (1966) and the world-famous 48 Portraits (1972) series, which showcase an intricate, photorealist approach to likeness, this work is characterised by looseness of touch. Leaving his practice open to the generative possibilities of error, here Richter adorns the canvas with a base of block colour; working over the space of several hours, Richter then adds – and removes – layers of other colours to reveal a dynamic, granular view of their dramatic interaction.

Like many others in the Abstract collection, this work references Richter’s strict socialist realist training, which he received at the Dresden Academy during the 1960s. Then under the aegis of East Germany’s ruling SED – or Socialist Unity Party – and within the Soviet sphere of influence, the art school was restrictive. Together with the Documenta II exhibition (1959), held in the West German city of Kassel and featuring works by Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso, its limitations pushed Richter to first leave East Germany, and later call for the ‘death’ of ‘painting itself’.

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