The Fuji series was conceived in 1996 as a series of 110 unique paintings to help finance the purchase of his famous Atlas by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich, and much like the Atlas project itself, it sums up some of Richter’s greatest artistic achievements. Each Fuji painting was individually produced by applying separate layers of red, Indian yellow and emerald green paint on an aluminium surface, after which the artist applied another layer of white paint with his signature squeegee tool on top. By spreading out these different layers of oil paint over the smooth surface, unexpected gradients and ruptures emerge that produce the unmistakable aesthetic of Richter’s abstract paintings and create a beautiful contrast between soft colour transitions and abrupt breaks where the underlying paint layers become visible. This combination of a controlled, pre-conceived process and the unexpected effects of the squeegee are characteristic for Richter, who explained: “I want to end up with a picture that I haven't planned. This method of arbitrary choice, chance, inspiration and destruction may produce a specific type of picture, but it never produces a predetermined picture. Each picture has to evolve out of a painterly or visual logic: it has to emerge as if inevitably” (Gerhard Richter quoted in: Dietmar Elger, Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting, Chicago 2009, p. 312).
As one of the most brightly coloured and beautifully constructed paintings, the present painting is an exceptional work from the series, as well as an outstanding example of Richter’s iconic abstract paintings. With deep reds appearing from underneath the white top layer, and a captivatingly vivid orange at the centre which imbues the painting with a carefully balanced composition, the particularly vivid colours and tangible surface make Fuji an unmistakably important work from one of the leaders of contemporary art today.
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