Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by contemporary visual artist Gerhard Richter. Calling for the ‘death of painting’ itself, Richter constantly challenges traditional painting techniques in his work.
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Unrestrained by any one visual style, German artist Gerhard Richter’s work spans abstraction to photorealism, glasswork to photography. Richter’s eclectic oeuvre is rich in varied media, from his famous reproductions of both banal and historic photography to his sheer panes of glass and church windows.
Image © Sotheby's / Abstraktes Bild © Gerhard Richter 1986
When Abstraktes Bild (1986) sold for £30.4 million at Sotheby's in 2015, it set the record for highest sale price achieved by a living European artist, and on the day after Gerhard Richter’s own 83rd birthday. The painting was the star of the night and far surpassed its £14–£20million estimate.
Richter created the piece by heavily layering oil paints on canvas and then pulling excess paint away using a wooden board and a homemade wooden squeegee. The artwork was known for being one of Richter’s personal favourites, which added to its collectability. It is also one of Richter’s largest abstract works, measuring 9ft 10in by 8ft 2in.
Image © Sotheby's / A B, Still © Gerhard Richter 1986
A B, Still stole the show at Sotheby’s postwar and contemporary art sale, selling for almost US$34million. It was one of seven Richter paintings to sell on the night, all of which came from the private collection of Steven Ames, partner at Oppenheimer & Co., who originally purchased the work for just US$264,000 in 1991. A.B., Still was not the largest Richter work to sell on the night (a title taken by the 8.5ft tall A.B. St. James), but stands at more than 7ft tall and features Richter’s distinctive carefully layered abstract oil paint.
Image © Sotheby's / Abstraktes Bild (636) © Gerhard Richter 1987
The imposing diptych Abstraktes Bild (636) is one of only 18 paintings from Richter’s distinctive and extensive series of abstract work that measures more than 100 inches in both height and width. Only five works by the artist still resides in private collections at the time, including this one, so its entrance onto the auction scene was highly anticipated.
Since the year it was created in 1987, it had been privately housed in a collection in Europe after a brief spell in a gallery. Being hidden from the spotlight for so long resulted in a high auction estimate of US$30million, which was exceeded.
Image © Sotheby's / Abstraktes Bild 797-2 © Gerhard Richter 1993