Gerhard Richter, Maler

Dietmar Elger

Gerhard Richter, Maler

416 pages

First day of sale: 13.01.2016
ISBN 978-3-8321-9065-1

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GERHARD RICHTER. A work biography.
420 pages, 100 colour and 60 b/w illustrations

On February 19, 2002, his 70th birthday, the Cologne painter Gerhard Richter was honored with accolades around the world. The highpoint of these festivities took the form of a comprehensive exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which critics noted was the largest such singular retrospective in the history of the famous museum. DuMont's publication of Dietmar Elger's work biography is a celebration of Richter's 70th birthday as well, containing numerous photos of Richter's life and works, it is the most comprehensive portrait of the artist and his work ever to be published. Gerhard Richter is internationally acknowledged as one of the most important and influential artists of our time. This position is the result of the intense dialogue between painting and photo-mechanical reproduction that Richter has developed into a body of work over the last 40 years. The thematic and stylistic diversity that characterizes his oeuvre is not to be understood as contradictary but as a shifting of vantage points in order to, as Richter puts it, make an image of the world.

While many critics have described Richter's paintings as "authorless works", a point strengthened by the artist's absolute denial of any trait of personal interest in his work, Elger is able to provide a new view with suprising interpretations of many well known painting in relation to Richter's biography. Gerhard Richter. A work biography is the first book ever to combine Richter's biographical and artistic development in a way that provides a fresh and independant interpretation of his work. This presentation provides many new details and information while also giveing a unique documentation of art market history. Dietmar Elger not only draws upon published material on Gerhard Richter but was also given unlimited access to the artist's archives and collected correspondences. Above all the book draws upon lengthy conversations with the artist and other contemporaries. This work biography contains many direct quotes from Richter giving it an authentically self-reflective character in terms of a critical view of an artist's life and work.

Overview of Gerhard Richter and his work:

Gerhard Richter, born February 19, 1932 in Dresden. Completed a five year study of painting at the Dresden School of Art and was a instructor of mural painting before emigrating to Düsseldorf where he completed a further two years of studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Inspired by American Pop Art, Richter found what was to become his method of investigating the possibilities of painting by using photos as a direct point of reference. Richter's body of work is characterized by constant changes and breaks, in both subject and painterliness, convergent and also parallel groups of work are developed with the intention of denying the possibility of a concretization of style: 48 portaits of famous personalities painted from encyclopedia photos, 1971-1972. Color charts, after 1966. Cityscapes, 1968. Abstract Paintings with veils of grey and other colors (photographic enlargements of paint structures), 1968. Clouds, 1970. Landscapes and grey Monochrome paintings (as the sum of all colors and neutral shapelessness), after 1973. Still lives with candles, skulls and apples as Vanitas motif, 70's. Abstract paintings with strong color accents which are monumental enlargements of small oil sketches and possess a space unique to painting, since 1976.

In 1988 completes 15 panel cycle 18.Oktober 1977, in reference to the death of RAF-Terrorists in Stuttgart-Stammheim prison, now in the permanent collection at the MoMA in New York. In the 90's personal motifs such as family photos and overpainted photos appear. At documenta X in 1997 Richter's systematically structured collection of reference photographs for paintings are exhibited under the title Atlas. In the background of Richter's body of work lies a skeptical questioning, and an uncertain, searching quest for the capabilities of painting.

Rights sold to:
University of Chicago Press (English language world)

Dietmar Elger

Dietmar Elger, geb. 1958, studierte Kunstgeschichte, Geschichte und Literaturwissenschaften an der Universität Hamburg. 1984/85 war er Sekretär im Atelier Gerhard Richter. 1985-1988 Tätigkeit als Kurator am Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund. 1989–2006 Kustos für Malerei und Skulptur am Sprengel Museum Hannover. Elger organisierte zahlreiche Ausstellungen zur modernen und zeitgenössischen Kunst. Seit 2006 ist er Leiter des Gerhard Richter Archivs bei den Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Dresden.