This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Signed Print Edition of 300
H 55cm x W 50cm
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Jasper Tordoff, Acquisition Coordinator
Part of the German artist Gerhard Richter’s Atlas series, Wolken (Clouds) is a signed lithograph print. It was issued in an edition of 300 in 1969 - a crucial stage in the early part of the artist's career - and is an archetypal example of his so-called ‘photo paintings’.
The same image as that which also appears in Richter’s 1969 print Wolke (Cloud), Wolken (Clouds) is a crucial example of the artist’s unique visual style, developed in large part during the 1960s, and emblematic of an important, life-changing period of Richter’s career. Escaping from Dresden, East Germany to the West German city of Düsseldorf within just weeks of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Richter was finally free; challenging his own origins in ‘socialist realist’ art, Richter would respond to the new, commodity-driven culture around him by co-founding a bold new art movement. Its name? Capitalist Realism.
Despite its photorealist qualities, Wolken (Clouds) makes a point of bringing our attention to the abstract, even non-referential tendencies of artworks focused on the depiction of the natural world. Around a decade later, during the late 1970s, Richter bagan creating abstract works with large-scale ‘squeegees’, later combining photography and abstraction in his so-called Übermalungen - or ‘overpainted’ photographs. As such, this image can be read as a precursor to these conceptual and stylistic developments of the artist’s œuvre. Comprising an image of a cloudy sky - of the kind one might see from a plane window - the print’s focal point is a bright white horizon line. Sandwiched between an upper and lower layer of cloud, Richter’s image is doubly his own: it was painted after a holiday photograph, which Richter placed in his so-called ‘Atlas’.