Oil on canvas. Elger 284-1. Signed and dated on the reverse, as well as titled "Teyde" and inscribed with the work number. Titled "Teyde-Landschaft" on the stretcher. 60 x 80 cm. . [JS].
• In the Teyde landscapes from 1971, Richter takes pictorial traditions from Romanticism and the search for the sublime in nature to modernity. • In 1969, Richter documented the barren Teyde landscape around the volcano Pico del Teide on Tenerife with his camera. • His technique of inpainting, shifting and distorting contours produces a fascinating decontextualization and alienation of the motif. • Shown alongside many other important works in the seminal Richter exhibition at the 'Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen' in 1971. • He chose this work for the poster of the exhibition in 1971. • Landscapes make up a small but significant work group in Richter's œuvre. LITERATURE: Dieter Honisch / Dietrich Helms / Kaus Honnef et al, Gerhard Richter. 36. Biennale die Venezia, German Pavilion, Essen 1972, p. 42 (with black-and-white illu. p. 71). Jürgen Harten / Dietmar Elger, Gerhard Richter. Bilder = Paintings 1962-1985, Cologne 1986, p. 378 (with black-and-white illu. p. 128). Gerhard Richter. Werkübersicht / Catalogue raisonné 1962-1993, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn 1993, vol. III, cat. no. 284-1 (with illu.) Cf. Dietmar Elger, Gerhard Richter. Maler, Cologne 2008, pp. 215f. and 221f. Cf. Hubertus Butin / Dietmar Elger et al, Gerhard Richter. Landscapes, Ostfildern-Ruit 2011, p. 19.
Painterly reinterpretation - Richter transfers tradition into modernity Just as Richter deals with photographic templates, he also deals with compositions from earlier generations of painters and combines their achievements with his own pictorial aesthetics: Seascapes may have been made in memory of Gustav Courbet's "La Vague" series, cloud pictures are reminiscent of Carus' cloud studies in small sketch format, while his Teyde landscapes evoke associations with Friedrich’s landscapes and the adoption of one of the most important topoi of Romanticism, the individual isolated in nature. With pictures like this Teyde landscape, scores of cloud studies from that same time, the candle pictures from the early 1980s, with the portrait of his daughter Betty - to name just a few examples - Richter always takes romantic motifs that he anchors in contemporary art with his characteristic painting style. "Gerhard Richter shows impressively and sustainably that the landscape painting has by no means become obsolete in the present time, but that it still has artistic relevance and topicality," says the art historian and Richter expert Hubertus Butin (Gerhard Richter, Landschaften, Vienna/Zürich 2020/21, p. 22). However, Richter always uses an illusionary presentation, reduces the materiality by processing the photo template and relativizes its presence with the painterly gesture of blurring. The painting style he had developed, shifting and distorting contours, helped him to counteract the recognition of the motif. Hence Richter's landscape painting is also romantic, as he obviously uses his landscapes for parallels in form and motif, and also because the landscape motif repeatedly takes center stage in his work. But the main path lies in the sentimental adaptation of reality. These are pieces of nature that Richter stages in paintings, landscapes, clouds, as well as in details of running colors, enlarged, shown as fabricated nature. However, Gerhard Richter never uses his brilliant technique to paint landscapes, only photographs of landscapes, in doing so, he handles his pictorial means with aplomb. [MvL]
Gerhard Richter. Arbeiten 1962 bis 1971, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, June 22 - August 22, 1971, p. 13. (shown on the poster, cf. Butin 43)
Private collection Germany (since the early 1970s - 2002). Private collection Rhineland (since 2002, acquired from the above, ever since family-owned, Lempertz, Cologne, December 3, 2002, lot 388)
Richter's masterful play with the photographic template Gerhard Richter's specific pictorial discourse, using a photographically conveyed reality for his painting, seduces the viewer. While the photograph may appear trivial, at times even uninteresting and sort of unambitious, Richter transforms the template into an atmospheric, mysterious motif. Through his artistic intervention, he gets our attention for elevating a random image section to an object worthy of being painted. At times he allows the photographic template to be identified as the medial starting point, in other cases it can only be guessed. Since 1962, Richter has been compiling photos from books, magazines, newspaper clippings, personal souvenir photos, family photos, photo experiments and sketches, to create an encyclopedia of patterns, mounted and collaged on cardboard. With the help of the so-called "Atlas", the occupation and the selection process can be grasped and, last but not least, a look at the panels allows us to follow Richter's implementation of the template in painting. And one will notice that the painted pictures hide details of the template from us, but at the same time, they can also allow us to understand the radical interventions and changes inherent in the picture. Representational photo-paintings, predominantly in gray-white grisaille technique, based on landscapes, townscapes, mountain ranges, seascapes, portraits, figure paintings, still lifes, images with monochrome color fields, they all form the pictorial cosmos that Richter had created during his first years in West Germany. In an interview in 1993, the artist commented the importance of photography for his work. "Because I was surprised by the photo," says Gerhard Richter, "that we can all use so copious every day. I was suddenly able to see it differently, as a picture that, without all the conventional criteria I had previously associated with art, gave me a different perspective. It had no style, no composition, no judgement, it liberated me from all personal experience, at first sight there is nothing about it, just a pure image. That's why I wanted it - not to use it as a medium for pure painting, but to use painting as a means for the photo". (David Britt (ed.), Gerhard Richter Texte 1962 - 1993, Frankfurt/Leipzig 1993, p. 67) Accordingly, Richter also documented his travels to Corsica, Lake Lucerne or to the nearby Eifel region south of Cologne, and he also captured motifs of the barren Teyde landscape around the volcanic mountain Pico del Teide on Tenerife with his camera in 1969, photographs he would then use for a series of landscape paintings in 1971/72. Observers don’t look into the landscape, but rather at the front layers of a diffuse colorfulness that contains depth and space. The artist suddenly conveys an apparently infinite space without picturesque conditions; the horizon line alone serves as anchor. We can experience Richter's fascination with pure light, capturing that specific moment of the early day before the sun breaks through the clouds, coupled with his enthusiasm for skies and clouds. Richter and the tradition of Romanticism Richter is rightly assumed to have a relationship to historical Romanticism. Born and raised in Dresden, the baroque city on the river Elbe, Richter began his studies before moving to the West in 1961, where he continued his studies in the class of K.O. Götz at the Düsseldorf Academy. And Dresden is also the city of the romanticists: Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Gustav Carus and the young Danish artist Johan Christian Clausen Dahl are all present. Her paintings are on display at the Galerie Neue Meister, almost right next to the Dresden Academy, where Richter had a studio. At the latest since the 1906 ‘Centennial Exhibition of German Art’ at the Berlin Nationalgalerie, including Hugo von Tschudi’s and Julius Meier-Graefe’s ‘Epochenausstellung’, the art of Impressionism was less appreciated than the art of the early 19th century, so that artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Phillip Otto Runge, Carl Blechen and the other romanticist counted among the 'rediscovered' painters. The painting of Romanticism was elevated to a national event, now in Berlin as much as formerly in Dresden. So it is not far-fetched to see Gerhard Richter in the tradition of Romanticism, and he has been regarded accordingly in publications from the very beginning.
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