Gerhard Richter

In connection with a few sketch images I was working on from my previous assignment, it was suggested referencing Gerhard Richter to what I was doing, so a few brief comments. Although more familiar with his later large abstracts I started to look at his earlier photo related, somewhat blurred images.

In the 1960’s, being influenced by American and British Pop art, Richter began to draw heavily on themes from every day life as portrayed through the photography in newspapers, magazines etc. and also from direct and indirect experiences such as the bombing over Dresden and the Mein Badar terror group paintings. He would later, work more from photos from family albums and from his own photography.

Richter’s work seems to encapsulate a post-modern world of reality which is a world of constant uncertainty. He has said that reality will always lay beyond reach and appearance is all we can have. The blurred effect or technique of dragging a dry brush over wet paint in much of his work is probably a metaphor for the fact that you can’t capture reality precisely. Richter’s paintings represent things unsure.

While some of Richter’s photo based paintings are poignant and technically excellent, I don’t resonate with a lot of it. When he says ‘art is just a mirror’ I don’t agree. His later more abstract work is more interesting.


Paul Moorhouse: Gerhard Richter – Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London (2009)

Robert Storr: Gerhard Richter – Early Photo Paintings (2012)