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PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Gerhard Richter
UNTITLED (19.3.86)
Estimate
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Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 849,000 GBP
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29

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Gerhard Richter
UNTITLED (19.3.86)
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 849,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Gerhard Richter
B. 1932
UNTITLED (19.3.86)
signed and dated 19.3.86
oil on paper laid down on canvas
65 by 101 cm. 25 5/8 by 39 3/4 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

Le Case D’Arte, Milan

Private Collection, Italy (acquired from the above in 1989)

Christie’s, London, 15 February 2012, Lot 249 (consigned by the above)

Galerie Nathalie Seroussi, Paris

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Amsterdam, Museum Overholland, Richter: Werken op Papier 1983-1986, February - April 1987, n.p., illustrated

Catalogue Note

Deploying an exuberance of colour in which gestural abandon is tempered by logical calculation, Gerhard Richter’s Untitled (19.3.86) distils the artist’s seminal abstract practice. Vibrating with staccato veils of stuttering paint arranged in swathes of red, green, and yellow tones, the present work demonstrates spectacular force and sensitivity in a seductive painterly synthesis that is visually aligned to a strikingly atmospheric evocation. Sitting at the cusp of the artist’s full espousal of the squeegee as his principal painterly tool, Untitled (19.3.86) forms part of a suite of 6 works on paper each created on a specific day between 16 and 21 March 1986. Particularly dense in composition, the present work is arguably the most painterly from this suite. Within his wider oeuvre, Richter’s abstract works on paper are markedly rare. As powerfully demonstrated in the present work, this medium expresses the artist’s most radical instances of experimentation, expressing investigative urges that would later find their way into his works on canvas. It is thus in this more intimate medium that Richter finds the freedom to fully employ a unique painterly vocabulary, giving unparalleled insight into the material process and aesthetic volition of an artist at the height of his abstract prowess.

Since the late 1960s, abstraction has formed a conceptual keystone through which Richter has radically explored the compositional and chromatic possibilities of the painted medium. During the mid-1970s, Richter embarked on a series of paintings based on photographs depicting thickly applied oil paint and smaller painted brushstrokes. Monumentally blown up and executed with photorealist veracity, these zoomed in details took on the appearance of Abstract Expressionist paintings. From this moment on Richter had found the logic through which the figurative could be made abstract; a transformation that when reversed validated a form of free-painting in which abstraction could be understood as figurative, and thus in many ways photographic. In the first half of the 1980s, Richter became increasingly prolific in his abstract paintings. Initially indulging in a myriad of free floating and delineated abstract shapes, these works would lay the foundation for the ensuing abstract paintings that would come to define the period post-1986, in which Richter began to layer accumulations of pigment and determine formal discord and resolution using the squeegee alone. The present work thus stands at an important turning point in the artist’s oeuvre. It is already here that we can fully detect a movement away from planned compositional elements and towards the element of chance as implicated by the rubber squeegee.

In its fervent celebration of colour, Untitled (19.3.86) is a revelation of boundless chromatic affect that is further compounded by the raw paper medium. Reflecting on Richter’s abstract practice, Benjamin Buchloh writes: “[I]f the ability of colour to generate this emotional, spiritual quality is presented and at the same time negated at all points, surely it's always cancelling itself out. With so many combinations, so many permutational relationships, there can’t be any harmonious chromatic order, or compositional either, because there are no ordered relations left either in the colour system or the spatial system” (Benjamin Buchloh, ‘An Interview with Gerhard Richter’ (1986) in: Benjamin Buchloh, Ed., Gerhard Richter: October Files, Massachusetts 2009, pp. 23-24). It is in this redefinition of compositional order that Richter evokes a mesmerising polyphony of colour, texture, and perspective. In Untitled (19.3.86) the phenomenological capacity of painting is presented as a dichotomy between the squeegee and the brush; a trajectory that would come to monumental fruition in his paintings on canvas of the following years.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London