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Gerhard Richter: Abstraktes Foto - Signed Print

Abstraktes Foto
Signed Print

Gerhard Richter


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Photographic print, 1989
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 74cm x W 100cm

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Critical Review

Like other works featured in Richter’s Abstract collection, such as Abstraktes Bild (1991) and Abstraktes Bild (P1) (1990), this print foregrounds the end product of the German artist’s loose, experimental approach to painting and composition. A swooping blend of dark grey and white, the print has its origins in Richter’s home-made squeegees. Made by hand by the artist’s two assistants at his studio on the outskirts of Cologne, Germany, these squeegees are adorned with varying hues of oil paint. They are then used to cover a base layer of block colour, applied directly to the canvas. The hues used are always ‘classics’, such cadmium and titanium white: working with earthy tones would diminish a given painting’s dramatic effect, Richter’s assistants have explained.

Referencing a painting completed during the late 1980s, the print was issued during a tumultuous period of the Dresden-born artist’s career. Just a year earlier, in 1988, Richter completed a series of 15 paintings entitled 18 October 1977. Ambiguous in nature, and characteristic of Richter’s signature approach to realism (often dubbed the Richter ‘blur’), the series portrays members of the Rote Armee Fraktion, or Baader Meinhof Gang: a terrorist organisation active in Germany and Europe between 1970 and 1998. The date referenced by the series title – the 18th of October 1977 – marks that on which three founding members of the group were found dead in their cells at Stuttgart’s high-security Stammheim Prison. These images, like many of Richter’s works, caused a storm for their uncompromising treatment of an uncomfortable episode in recent German history.

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