Museum Ludwig displays Gerhard Richter’s Abstract Paintings
For the first time, a wide-ranging museum exhibition of works by Gerhard Richter will concentrate solely on the abstract paintings he has produced since the mid-1970s, and that constitute the most striking body of work in his oeuvre. Beginning with paintings such as “Courbet” (1986) or “Blau” (1988), which are charged with the utmost colour, his development to the present will be charted via the series entitled “Bach” (1992) to the twelve “Wald” (2005) paintings, which are being shown for the first time in Europe.
These at times very large works are created in a very complex manner. The paint structures are applied with brushes, squeegees and palette knifes that are drawn across the wet layers of paint, so that new strata are superimposed on existing ones, or even obliterate them.
As a result, the works evidence an immense painterly intensity. They are the result of a “highly planned spontaneity”. Although Richter’s approach using “chance, arbitrariness, whim and destruction brings about a particular kind of painting, it is never a predetermined painting”. What Richter aims at in his abstracts is deriving content from the form. Painting for Richter is “the creation of an analogy to the ineffable and inconceivable, which in this way will assume form and become freely available”.
The approximately 40 paintings being shown come from private collections and museums in Europe and the USA, and in some cases have never previously been exhibited in Germany. This exhibition on view through 1 February, 2009.
In 1976 the Museum Ludwig was founded with a gift of 350 works of modern art by the Ludwigs. It was to be the first museum in Cologne to exhibit contemporary art. Apart from pop art the Ludwigs also donated a large collection of Russian Avantgarde from the period 1906 to 1930 and a voluminous collection of several hundred works by Pablo Picasso as a permanent loan. The works by Picasso have meanwhile become the property of the Museum Ludwig thanks to two generous gifts in 1994 and 2001.
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