Artist Gerhard Richter donated 100 of his paintings to Berlin – DW – 04/01/2023

Artist Gerhard Richter donated 100 of his paintings to Berlin – DW – 04/01/2023

100 paintings by Gerhard Richter (Gerhard Richter) moved to permanent residence in Berlin, first – in the halls of the capital’s New National Gallery. You can look at the works of the most expensive – his works are worth millions – by a German artist from April 1.

Experts predict the exhibition will be a great success, since Gerhard Richter is one of the most sought-after contemporary masters. The collection of paintings that the artist donated to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in perpetuity in 2021, shortly before his 90th birthday, is of great value. In the struggle for the creative heritage of the painter, his hometown of Dresden and his second homeland – Cologne – were left with nothing. Richter chose Berlin. In the capital, this decision is considered sensational.

100 works by the master will initially be exhibited at the New National Gallery– one of the museums run by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, and later will find their place in the Museum of the 20th Century being created.

In the center of the exposition is the cycle “Birkenau”

In addition to the “Birkenau” cycle, created in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the exhibition features works from different creative periods of the artist, starting from the 1980s. Among them are paintings made in the frottage technique characteristic of the master, as well as works in which Richter explored the field of tension between photography and painting.

A cycle of paintings about the Holocaust – “Birkenau”Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/dpa/picture alliance

In the center of the Berlin exposition is the 2014 Birkenau cycle: huge abstract panels. The artist was inspired to create these paintings by photographs secretly taken by a prisoner of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in August 1944.

“Picasso of the 21st century”

Art historians call Gerhard Richter, who lives in Cologne, “Picasso of the 21st century.” The Dresden native is one of the most successful contemporary artists in the world. His works can be seen in the halls of the most famous museums. And they sell for record prices. For example, Richter’s painting “Green-Red-Blue 789-33” (“Grün-Blau-Rot 789-33”), painted in 1993, was recently sold at an auction in Cologne for 533,400 euros – much more than the starting price, reported at Sotheby’s auction house. Interestingly, the proceeds from the sale of a total of 49 works by various artists at this auction went to fund projects aimed at combating poverty among the elderly.

Richter painting
Photo? Painting? Richter blurred the lines between painting and photographyPhoto: picture-alliance/dpa

Unlike the famous Spaniard Picasso, Richter avoids publicity and rarely gives interviews. However, Richter has something in common with Picasso: stylistically, he constantly develops and does not repeat.

Experiment as a trademark

Richter painted romantic landscapes. He painted still lifes and portraits. The artist constantly reinvented himself – now with photorealistic images of nature or blurry paintings, then with glass and mirror objects, installations or wall “orgies of flowers”.

The constant violation of styles and experiments became his hallmarks. Hardly anyone else explored the possibilities of painting as intensely as 91-year-old Gerhard Richter did.

The exhibition “Gerhard Richter. 100 works for Berlin” (Gerhard Richter. 100 Werke für Berlin) can be viewed from April 1, 2023 to 2026 in the New National Gallery of the German capital.


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