4096 Farben Zu Verkaufen

Lot 115: Gerhard Richter, 4096 Farben, 1974, enamel on canvas, 100×100 in., image via Sotheby’s

Life-sized portraits of lap-sized, wide-eyed poodles aren’t the only thing Sotheby’s is selling tomorrow. It’s also selling one of Gerhard Richter’s greatest paintings, 4096 Farben, CR-359, (1974). The 64×64 grid of 1024 different colors, each painted somewhere four times, is sort of a capstone of Richter’s color chart project. At least until the Köln cathedral windows, of course. And those are not for sale.

I wasn’t going to post this before I saw the drop-shadow in the image above. Because unlike most of the illustrations in the catalogue for 4900 Colours, it is actually a photograph of a painting.

Lot 115: Gerhard Richter, 4096 Farben, est. $18-25m [update: gekauft for $21.8m] [sothebys]

Gerhard Richter Painted

The last something: Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (CR 952-4), 2017, 200x250cm, image:gerhard-richter.com

I get it, it’s been six years since Gerhard Richter announced he’d “retired from painting,” but after several months of press releases and invites for a show of “new and recent” work, it still came as a shock to read David Zwirner describing the show opening last night as containing “a group of Richter’s last paintings, made in 2016–2017.”

Gerhard Richter painting in Gerhard Richter Painting, 2011, image from Corinna Belz’ film

Of course, what it technically means is, “last paintings on canvas.” Or “last squeegee paintings.” Which still shocks to think about; I, for one, would like him to still be painting. But given the artist’s incredible physical exertion while making the squeegee paintings in Corinna Belz’ 2011 film, Gerhard Richter Painting, it’s understandable. I’m still trying to think through what to make of it, though, and to see what Richter’s making now.

Continue reading “Gerhard Richter Painted”

ASMRt — Lot 10: Gerhard Richter

Lot 10: Gerhard Richter, Mathis, 1983, withdrawn from sale

I only realized just now, while uploading the mp3, that I have already read Gerhard Richter auction catalogue essays for one episode of ASMRt. Well, here is another, for a work that was withdrawn from the Phillips contemporary evening sale last night in London. After this lot, representing more than half the evening’s estimated total, was removed, the auction achieved a 100% sale rate.

This painting, Mathis, from 1983, strikes me as a very good transitional painting, and was recognized as such by a serious collector who kept it for decades. That did not, apparently, drive interest to the level Phillips had estimated, and so all the work of contextualizing this painting was at risk of being lost, or at least under-appreciated. Not now though.

Also

Download ASMRt_Richter_Mathis_Phillips_March2023.mp3 [greg.org, 20mb, 22:00]

Eis, Eis Baby

Gerhard Richter, Eis 2/Ice 2 [CR 706-2], 1989, 200×160 cm, collection: Art Institute of Chicago

In 1989 Gerhard Richter made four large, slush-colored squeegee paintings [CR 706-1 through 4], which he titled Eis/Ice. In 1997, the Lannan Foundation helped give the brightest one, Eis 2, to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Gerhard Richter, Eis 2, 2003, 111.3 x 88.9 cm sheet, ed. 67/108, signed,
sold at Sotheby’s NY on 19 July 2022 for $56,700

In 2003, Richter made a quarter-sized (100 x 80 cm) print edition of Eis 2 for the 40th anniversary of Lincoln Center Editions, a print fundraising operation of the Vera List Art Project. Richter and Robert Blanton’s print studio Brand X created an amazing 41-color screenprint version of the painting, just the kind of medium shifting challenge those guys would love.

Gerhard Richter, Eis 2 poster, 113 x 87 cm sheet of Somerset, unsigned, but still an edition

Clearly it worked, because Richter put out Eis 2 as a signed edition of 108 (plus 27 proofs) on Somerset. They started popping at auction about three years ago, and in the last year have sold for $56-$90,000.

Brand X also printed 500 copies of an unsigned poster version on slightly taller, narrower Somerset, with the Lincoln Center/List Art Posters caption. Same image dimensions (40 x 32 in.), same screens. These ur-Facsimile Objects sell for just a couple thousand dollars.

So whether you’re a connoisseur of printing technique or spending technique, there’s an Eis 2 for you. In fact, there’s one coming up at LA Modern on January 11th. [update: it sold for a decent $3,024.]

Previously, clearly, in retrospect, related:
2016: Gerhard Richter Facsimile Objects
2014: Cage Grid: Gerhard Richter and the Photo Copy
2013: Gerhard Richter’s Septembers