oil on canvas
78 x 52 cm (30 3/4 x 20 1/2 in.)
verso signed, dated and numbered '448/6'
In addition to his 'photo-paintings', Gerhard Richter explores questions of painting and representation above all in abstraction: whether in clearly structured and delineated colour panels, in stripes and ‘inpaintings’ or in completely free, gestural compositions. These can be monochrome or multi-coloured and range from vivid to subtle colours. The present work from 1979 is one of Richter's early abstract paintings.
As the artist says: “I began in 1976, with small abstract paintings that allowed me to do what I had never let myself do: put something down at random. And then, of course, I realised that it never can be random. It was all a way of opening a door for me. If I don't know what's coming – that is, if I have no hard-and-fast image, as I have with a photographic original – then arbitrary choice and chance play an important part.” (Interview with Sabine Schütz, 1990)
The paintings themselves develop during the painting process without the desired result being clear in advance: rather, Richter creates his works layer by layer with different painting tools. Smooth surfaces are combined with thick impasto forming complex surface structures that are permeated by various traces of colour. The present work also stands out through its contrasts between finely painted areas and concentrated particles of colour, as well as between the colour gradients that change from light to dark. Two intersecting reddish-brown strokes, which are interrupted in their colour strands and blend with the other layers of paint instead, set an additional accent in this richly textured composition.