Gerhard Richter’s landscape paintings on display at the Kunstforum Vienna | Arts | DW

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Landscapes have always fascinated Gerhard Richter in his work. No other motif seems to have captivated the artist so much throughout his career.

Born in Dresden in 1932, his paintings were inspired by landscapes from magazines or amateur photographs, using broad brushstrokes to create black and white mountain views and colorful lake views. subtle.

Together, these landscapes are all part of a landscape panorama that has long formed a particular group of works in Richter’s work.

The Vienna Kunstforum is now presenting a retrospective of Richter’s landscapes from October 1 to February 14, 2021.

Read more: German artist Gerhard Richter calls his early works “trash”

Landscapes as experiments

Almost 2,500 years have passed since panel and fresco painters of ancient Greece placed plant and animal motifs in front of suggested land lines and structured spaces. One could argue that these were the first attempts at creating figurative art. But for Gerhard Richter, the representation of the landscape has always been more of a field of artistic experimentation.

The 88-year-old is considered a chameleon among painters – an artist caught between abstraction and concrete representation, who has constantly switched between new styles of painting.

And auction records prove that this is the recipe for success: Gerhard Richter’s paintings are among those that set the highest records in the contemporary art market.

His works have been honored in major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, the New National Gallery in Berlin and the Center Pompidou in Paris. His works have even traveled to Australia and back.

The Barberini Museum in Potsdam recently exhibited his abstract works – and it is highly unlikely that this will be the last such exhibition of the versatile artist who is considered one of the greatest of the 20th and 20th centuries. 21st century.

Richter even recently completed a series of abstract stained glass for Germany’s oldest monastery – according to his biographer Dietmar Elger, this was his 957th work in his massive catalog compiled over decades.

Will it reach 1000 pieces? It’s hard to say, however, Richter also recently announced that he is going to give up the brush for good, adding that there is still time to quit.

A vast spectacle of landscapes in Vienna

The Vienna exhibition presents around 130 paintings, drawings, prints, photographic works, artist’s books and objects by Gerhard Richter, which are on loan from around 50 locations around the world.

It is, as the Kunstforum Vienna proudly points out, “the first exhibition in the world to focus so extensively and intensively on this genre”.

Indeed, some of these works have never been shown publicly.

Those who might be tempted to believe that Richter’s landscapes were created in nature are mistaken: “The works are mainly based on photographic models,” says curator Lisa Ortner-Kreil. They are therefore in fact “second-hand landscapes”, she adds.

A contemporary romantic?

It can be seen even by the untrained eye: many patterns are cropped in unusual ways, there is often a lot of blurring, and sometimes there is even handwriting in the painting. There are landscapes with deeply defined horizons and an evocative atmosphere that brings Richter’s work closer to the artistic values ​​of German Romanticism.

Gerhard Richter’s gallery is based in Cologne

Yet he remains true to himself: “Painting like Caspar David Friedrich is quite possible, but only without being able to refer to the intellectual tradition of the romantic”, say the organizers of the Vienna exhibition, citing him.

Richter himself called these works of art “cuckoo eggs” – just like the “second-hand” ideas previously mentioned by exhibition curator Ortner-Kreil.

A deep look at the soul of Gerhard Richter

Despite the Corona pandemic, the Kunstforum Vienna has decided to stick to its exhibition program. Thus, the exhibition will allow visitors to have an encounter with the artist through his most important works.

It is a retrospective view of a genre Richter described in 1981 as follows: “If ‘abstract images’ show my reality, then landscapes or still lifes show my desire.

This item was adapted from the German original by Dagmar Breitenbach

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