This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Signed Print Edition of 300
H 19cm x W 69cm
Own this artwork?
Jasper Tordoff, Acquisition Coordinator
This signed print by German visual artist Gerhard Richter belongs to the Swiss Alps collection. Issued in 1969 in an edition of 300, it is atypical of Richter’s landscape artworks during this period and notable for its abandonment of a photorealist style.
Produced in the same year as Richter’s first photo-realist depictions of landscape, which include works such as Wolken (Clouds) (1969) or Seestück I (1969), Schweizer Alpen I - B2 is at once representational and abstract. Betraying the identity of its subject matter - the Swiss Alps - only loosely, the work is characterised by gestural lines and a limited, monochromatic colour palette. Areas of darker paint recall the cavernous depths of mountain slopes, not yet warmed by the sun, and reveal dark rock beneath the snow’s coverage. White snow, picked out by solar glare, stands in direct opposition to these blocks of darker colour, and reveal the outline of a ghostly mountain range.
Viewed from either afar or in ‘close up’, this print is detached from traditional representation. Eschewing minute, photographic detail in favour of broad strokes, light, and shadow, it is a continued testament to Richter’s desire to enact the ‘death’ of traditional painting. The recipient of a ‘socialist realist’ artistic training whilst a student at the Dresden Academy, then under the control of the East German authorities, Richter was able to nurture traditional skills such as draughtsmanship but was confined to ideological subject matter. Restricted to the reproduction of a prescriptive, political style, Richter took great inspiration from artists working outside of the Soviet sphere of influence, such as Pablo Picasso, as well as from photography, both of which radically challenged the orthodox artistic dogma that surrounded him.