Curator Mark Godfrey highlights three paintings by Gerhard Richter coming to the Contemporary Evening Sale this May, Abstracts Bild, Vesuv [Vesuvius], and 4096 Farben.
A singularly stunning and jewel-like example of Gerhard Richter’s iconic squeegee crafted abstractions from 1990, the very apex of his seminal 1988 – 1992 period of production, Abstraktes Bild 721-4 features a riotous combination of colors from across the spectrum and a rigorous and distinctive orthogonal composition.
Revealing a meditative yet enigmatic vista, Vesuv is a sublime example of Gerhard Richter’s extraordinary ability to reimagine traditional modes of painting, bringing the time-honored tradition of landscape painting into the modern day. The present work is one of seven limited Vesuv paintings the artist executed in 1976, which together represent a significant shift in Richter's oeuvre from his Photo Paintings to the celebrated and ongoing Abstrakte Bilder.
One after the other, each pigment glimmers from the monumental lacquer surface of 4096 Farben as Gerhard Richter deftly refines painting to its simplest and yet most evocative form: color. Executed in 1974, 4096 Farben emerges as the singular milestone and ultimate destination of Richter’s pivotal Color Chart paintings, which stand among the most significant conceptual breakthroughs in not only the artist’s legendary career, but also the tradition of painting within the last century.
These three Masterworks from Richter will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening auction on 18 May at Sotheby’s New York as a part of the New York Sales.