Gerhard Richter – New Paintings

 

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (946-4), 2016. Oil on canvas

Gerhard Richter, one of the most famous artists of our time, has lived in Cologne since 1984. It’s there that Museum Ludwig currently presents his new paintings. 26 abstract paintings are exhibited, all created in the past year. Some of my favourites are below.

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (943-1), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (944-10), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (946-3), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (946-5), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (947-1), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (947-8), 2016. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Abstract Painting (939-7), 2015. Oil on canvas

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Exhibition view Gerhard Richter New Paintings Museum Ludwig

The museum asked the master himself to select some of his older works from their collection to contextualise the surprisingly bright colourful new compositions. These works are shown in a dense showcase adjacent to the exhibition.

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Gerhard Richter- Ema, Nude on a Staircase, 1966. Oil on canvas

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Gerhard Richter- Betty, 1977. Oil on canvas

Gerhard Richter’s first wife, Ema, with whom he moved from the GDR to West Germany, posed for a photograph, appearing naked on the stairs in his Düsseldorf studio in 1966. With ‘Ema’, the artist painted one of his first works based on one of his own colour photographs that would become an icon in his oeuvre. Ema is at that time pregnant with their daughter Babette who was born 6 months later. Babette is depicted 10 years later on the painting ‘Betty’.

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Gerhard Richter- War, 1981. Oil on canvas

The paining above, ‘War’, belongs to a series of abstract paintings that Gerhard Richter painted in preparation of his contribution to Documenta 7 in 1982. It’s one of his first monumental abstract works.
One can only conclude that Richter, at age 85, relentlessly continues his investigation in the presentation of reality and continues to be fascinated by the use of chance in the creation of his works.
On view in Museum Ludwig till May 1st 2017.

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Blind spots – Jackson Pollock

“I like to use a dripping fluid paint… The method of painting is a natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than to illustrate them. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”
J. Pollock 1951

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Jackson Pollock – Convergence: Number 10, 1952 (oil on canvas)

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is one of the most influential and provocative American artists of the 20th century. Between 1947 and 1950, Pollock perfected his revolutionary drip technique: he poured, dripped and flicked paint from the end of a brush or stick over a piece of canvas stretched out on his studio floor. For the work Yellow Islands (below) Pollock poured black paint onto the canvas over which he added areas of yellow and crimson with a brush. He then lifted the canvas upright while the paint was still wet, allowing it to sag and run.

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Jackson Pollock – Yellow Islands, 1952 (oil on canvas)

These iconic works are currently shown in the exhibition Jackson Pollock – Blind Spots at the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition goes on to explore the transformation of Pollock’s paintings in the following years to his ‘black paintings’ as they are often referred to. But also his explorations in other media such as drawing, printmaking and sculpture are generously shown. These ‘blind spots’ in Pollocks practice show an artist searching for expression of his ongoing inward struggle.

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Jackson Pollock – Untitled (Black and White Polyptych) c1950 (Oil on canvas)

Black and White Polyptych (above), with its mini-compositions like a strip of film stills, is the earliest painting in which Pollock condensed scale, restricted his palette to monochrome, and worked in series. He continues to explores divisions in Number 7  and Portrait and a Dream (below).

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Jackson Pollock – Number 7 (black paint on canvas)

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Jackson Pollock – Portrait and a Dream, 1953 (oil and enamel on canvas)

Portrait and a Dream is considered one of Pollock’s last major artistic statements. During the final years of his life, as his battle with alcoholism worsened, Pollock painted only a handful of works. In this painting the face on the right has been interpreted as a self-portrait. The left half contains a black graphic of frenetic energy, which may represent the dream of the painting’s title.

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Exhibition view of Jackson’s Pollock works on paper (DMA)

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Jackson Pollock Blind Spots showing at Dallas Museum of Art

Blind Spots still on view in the Dallas Museum of Art till March 20, 2016.
Pictures shown are taken by me in the exhibition.

Untitled / Head

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled, 2015. Oil on canvas, 53 × 43 cm

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled, 2015. Oil on canvas, 50 × 40 cm

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled, 2012. Oil on canvas, 27.9 × 21 cm

These beautiful abstract paintings are by Svenja Deininger (°1974) who lives and works in Vienna, Austria. I love her collage like compositions and the superb choice of colours in her work.

Her recent work is a nod to painter Phillip Guston, who named several of his works Untitled / Head during his transition in the late 1960’s from painting pure abstraction to what he called “the thing.” Deininger pushes this reference forward and explores in her new body of work how to bring an idea to physical appearance.

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled , 2015. Oil on canvas, 230 × 150 cm

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled, 2012. Oil on canvas, 89.9 × 64.8 cm

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Svenja Deininger – Untitled , 2015. Oil on canvas, 230 × 150 cm

She has had solo exhibitions in New York City and throughout Europe.
If you wish to read more about her check out artsy.

A painter’s home

Ballroom, 2011 by Piet Raemdonck. Mixed media on paper, 53x60 cm.

Ballroom, 2011 by Piet Raemdonck. Mixed media on paper, 53×60 cm.

After his art studies, at the age of 25, Piet Raemdonck adopted the mantra ‘i live from my paintings’ and that’s exactly what he did and he never looked back.

Piet Raemdonck's atelier in his home.

Piet Raemdonck’s atelier in his home.

Piet Raemdonck (*Ghent 1972) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. His home is a former diamond cutting workplace build in 1904, now overgrown with plants. He has lived here for 20 years.

The home of Piet Raemdonck in Antwerp.

The home of Piet Raemdonck in Antwerp.

His work can be roughly summarised as still lives, landscapes and compositions. Abstraction moved in as he went along.

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Omaggio a Morandi I, 2010 by Piet Raemdonck. 60×40 cm, oil on wood.

In 2010, fashion designer Dries Van Noten assigned him to paint 8 large portraits as images for his winter collection. They were shown in Antwerp, Hong Kong and Paris and became a milestone in his career. For these portraits he started using pure black paint again which he avoided for years. Colours and light characterise his works and that’s not different for his home.

Portraits by Piet Raemdonck made as images for Dries Van Noten's winter collection 2010

Portraits by Piet Raemdonck made as images for Dries Van Noten’s winter collection 2010

At the end of this year a compilation of his work will be published in a book. Meanwhile you can visit his website and gallery to admire his vibrant works.

Rothko’s soup

No. 16 by Mark Rothko, 1957. Oil paint on canvas, 252 x 207 cm.

No. 16 by Mark Rothko, 1957. Oil paint on canvas, 252 x 207 cm.

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is considered as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His large abstract paintings with colour blocks, so typical for Rothko’s classical style, are auctioned for tens of millions of dollars.

Mark Rothko, New York, 1960. Photo by Rudy Burckhardt.

Mark Rothko, New York, 1960. Photo by Rudy Burckhardt.

More than 20 years (until his suicide in 1970), Rothko painted rectangular blocks in the most vivid of colours but even so in black. How did this extreme reduction of imagery came to be? How did he become an abstract painter?

Antigone by Mark Rothko, circa 1941. Oil paint and charcoal on canvas, 86 x 116 cm.

Antigone by Mark Rothko, circa 1941. Oil paint and charcoal on canvas, 86 x 116 cm.

What i enjoyed tremendously in the current exhibition ‘Mark Rothko’ in Den Haag (The Netherlands) is the attempt to answer these questions. A lot of attention is dedicated to the early figurative work and the evolution to his later work.

Personage 2 by Mark Rothko, 1946. Oil paint on canvas, 142 x 82 cm.

Personage 2 by Mark Rothko, 1946. Oil paint on canvas, 142 x 82 cm.

His move from a naturalistic to a surrealistic style in the early 40’s is influenced by his interest in myths, psychoanalysis and the writings of Nietzsche. This stylistic move coincided also with major changes in his private life: after living as a Russian in the States for 25 years he was naturalised and he changed his name from Rothkowitz to Rothko. He divorced his first wife Edith Sachar, struggled with a depression and stopped painting for some time to work on his essay ‘The Artist’s Reality’.

No. 18 by Mark Rothko, 1946. Oil paint on canvas, 155 x 110 cm.

No. 18 by Mark Rothko, 1946. Oil paint on canvas, 155 x 110 cm.

His adaptation of surrealism to his first abstract style, the so-called multiforms, occurred around the mid 40’s. His friendship with Clyfford Still seems to have played an important role in this evolution.

Untitled by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint on canvas, 126 x 112 cm.

Untitled by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint on canvas, 126 x 112 cm.

The multiforms shown in the exhibition in Den Haag are absolutely gorgeous and completely mesmerising. A soup of slowly moving forms with blurred lines between figure and background. Abstraction is boiling.

No. 9 by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 134 x 118 cm.

No. 9 by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 134 x 118 cm.

No. 10 by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint on canvas, 164 x 108 cm.

No. 10 by Mark Rothko, 1948. Oil paint on canvas, 164 x 108 cm.

In 1950 Rothko starts to develop his signature style with rectangular, hazy colour fields on monochrome portrait formats. Rothko is no longer stirring the soup.

No. 7 (or) No. 11 by Mark Rothko, 1949. Oil paint on canvas, 173 x 111 cm.

No. 7 (or) No. 11 by Mark Rothko, 1949. Oil paint on canvas, 173 x 111 cm.

All pictures are scans from the catalogue ‘Mark Rothko’ accompanying the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag from 20 Sep 2014 till 1 Mar 2015.