Gerhard Richter

Brigid Polk (1971)

About this artwork

Richter has always displayed the importance of the subjects of his paintings, maintaining that he simply chooses amateur photographs that allow him to concentrate on the act of painting appearances. But he is obviously drawn towards certain subjects since he pastes photographs of them in his ‘Atlas’, or personal image bank. Richter painted five portraits of Brigid Polk, the highly idiosyncratic and extrovert member of Andy Warhol’s Factory. These portraits are significant, in that in them Richter began to use colour again, after having used only black, white and grey tones in his previous figurative paintings.

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  • title: Brigid Polk
  • accession number: AR00344
  • artist: Gerhard RichterGerman (born 1932)
  • depicted: Brigid Polk
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: 1971
  • measurements: 175.00 x 175.20 x 2.80 cm (framed: 180.50 x 180.30 x 6.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Gerhard Richter
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter

Richter was born in Dresden, where he studied from 1952 to 1957. In 1961 he settled in Düsseldorf, where he studied under Joseph Beuys. In 1963 he began using images from press photographs and amateur snapshots in his paintings, deliberately blurring them in order to undermine and challenge the boundaries of painting and photography. In the early 1970s Richter explored theoretical ideas about colour in a series of colour charts. In a similar systematic way he made a large number of grey paintings in which he experimented with texture and brushstrokes. Since the late 1970s Richter has painted an ongoing series of colourful abstractions and alternated these with painstakingly accurate renderings in paint of photographs of landscapes, people and still lifes.