Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting, 2016, oil on canvas, 70 x 60 cm, © Gerhard Richter 2016 (221116)

Gerhard Richter:
New Paintings

February 9 – Mai 1, 2017

For over fif­ty years, Ger­hard Richter (born on Fe­bruary 9, 1932, in Dres­den and based in Cologne since 1983) has worked on a daz­zling re­ne­w­al of paint­ing. The wide-rang­ing oeu­vre of per­haps the most fa­mous artist of our time pre­sents a fas­ci­nat­ing ten­sion be­tween fig­u­ra­tion and ab­s­trac­tion, sig­ni­f­i­cance and ba­nal­i­ty. Since the late 1970s, ab­s­tract pic­tures have dom­i­nat­ed Richter’s work.

On the oc­ca­sion of Ger­hard Richter’s eigh­ty-fifth birth­day on Fe­bruary 9, the Mu­se­um Lud­wig is pre­sent­ing twen­ty-six ab­s­tract paint­ings for the first time, all of which were cre­at­ed last year. Th­ese new works, most of which were paint­ed on can­vas­es of very dif­fer­ent sizes, fea­ture bright col­ors and de­tailed, mul­ti­lay­ered com­po­si­tions. The artist used a paint­brush, a palette knife, a squeegee, and a knife to shape th­ese paint­ings built up in sev­er­al lay­ers of oil paint; his many years of ex­pe­ri­ence—­dur­ing which he has of­ten made use of chance in the cre­a­tion of his work­s—re­sult in de­tailed and ex­treme­ly com­plex com­po­si­tions. Richter’s work is based on doubts about the rep­re­senta­bil­i­ty of re­al­i­ty and the ques­tion of the mean­ing of the paint­ed pic­ture.

Along­side the ex­hi­bi­tion, pi­oneer­ing works by Ger­hard Richter from the col­lec­tion of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig will be pre­sent­ed, in­clud­ing icons such as Ema (Nude on a Stair­case) from 1966, 48 Por­traits of Ger­man in­tel­lec­tu­al fig­ures from 1971/72, the ab­s­tract paint­ing War from 1981, and the glass work 11 Panes from 2003, among others. This pre­sen­ta­tion, which was al­so de­signed by Richter, al­so fea­tures many edi­tions in which the pain­ter fur­ther ex­pands his means and his ques­tions about the pic­ture and the like­ness. Some of th­ese edi­tions have long been part of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig col­lec­tion, while others are gifts that col­lec­tors from the Rhine­land and the artist him­self pre­sent­ed to the mu­se­um on the oc­ca­sion of his eigh­ty-fifth birth­day.  

May­or Hen­ri­ette Rek­er of­fers her con­gra­t­u­la­tions to the artist and hon­o­rary ci­t­izen of Cologne: “Ger­hard Richter’s close con­nec­tion with the Mu­se­um Lud­wig and the ci­ty of Cologne is ex­treme­ly for­tu­nate. His in­ter­na­tio­n­al­ly sig­ni­f­i­cant work is cre­at­ed here in our ci­ty. I am all the more de­light­ed that his new paint­ings are al­so be­ing shown for the first time here in Cologne.”  

Cologne’s Ci­ty Coun­cilor for Cul­tu­r­al Af­fairs Su­sanne Laug­witz-Aul­bach adds: “On his birth­day, we are ul­ti­mate­ly the re­cipi­ents of this gift, and for this we owe him our grat­i­tude.”  

For Yil­maz Dziewior, di­rec­tor of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, Ger­hard Richter’s de­ci­sion to pre­miere his new paint­ings at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig is a sign of recog­ni­tion as well as an im­pe­tus for the fu­ture: “The fact that Ger­hard Richter has cho­sen the Mu­se­um Lud­wig as the lo­ca­tion for the first show­ing of his new paint­ings once again de­mon­s­trates the artist’s en­dur­ing and in­ten­sive re­la­tion­ship to our in­sti­tu­tion and en­cour­ages us to cont­in­ue to deep­en it.”  

Cu­ra­tor: Ri­ta Ker­st­ing

The ex­hi­bi­tion is gener­ous­ly sup­port­ed by Zurich Ver­sicherung.