Gerhard Richter

Untitled (1985)

About this artwork

After he moved to West from East Germany in 1961, until the early 1970s, Richter painted almost exclusively in a figurative style. From that time until the present, he has concentrated most (but by no means all) of his energies on exploring the possibilities of abstract painting. Paintings such as ‘Untitled’ 1985 look superficially like the informal abstractions of the 1950s but in fact owe more to the chance effects of scraping and smudging paint than to exquisite aesthetic decisions as to what mark and paint colour to put next to another. For Richter, abstract paintings have to look natural, and part of another reality, rather than an anguished personal expression.

  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00346
  • artist: Gerhard RichterGerman (born 1932)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1985
  • measurements: 59.20 x 85.30 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.