• gerhard richter
    Decke | Blanket, 1988, GR 680-3
    Öl auf Leinwand | Oil on canvas, 200 x 140 cm
    Privatsammlung | Private Collection, Berlin

gerhard richter – without color

What is painting? What is a picture? How do we perceive pictures? With each of his paintings, Gerhard Richter, unquestionably one of the most significant painters of our time, formulates these questions anew. His medium and methods appear paradox but are nevertheless of impressive consistency. From photo realism to the monochrome, from historic to abstract color painting, from industrially produced minimal conceptual art to gesture-expressive painting, Richter has gone through the complete spectrum of 20th century painting and has still managed to create his own unmistakable picture language.

A phenomenon runs through his work like a red – or rather gray! – thread: the renunciation of the intrinsic medium of painting – color itself. Approximately a third of his extensive oeuvre is done without color, limiting itself to a scale of black, white and gray tones which are usually described as “non-colors”. The museum franz gertsch is studying this central aspect of Gerhard Richter’s work for the first time and is exhibiting approximately 30 paintings showing a fascinating cross section of this work, which, in its consistent renouncing of color, lays bare the innermost essence of painting.

The spectrum of the exhibition runs chronologically from the early 1960s to the present, thematically from figurative pictures in the classic genres of still life, landscape, portrait and historic content to monochrome gray pictures, abstract “Vermalungen”, squeegee and smear paintings to the gray mirrors. The exhibition concludes with Richter’s color charts which, with the gesture of the renunciation of color, conceptually confront color as the industrial raw material of the painter.

gerhard richter – without color