Gerhard Richter – Portraits from the Olbricht Collection

Gerhard Richter has secured an international reputation as one of the most important and successful German artists of current times. The exhibition’s focus is also on human images – one of the central themes of Richter’s editioned works since the 1960s. Both photographs from his family photo album and press photos of famous personalities (Mao, Elisabeth) serve as models for Richter’s exploration of artistic techniques. At the same time, he draws on some of his painted portraits and portraits (Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe), Onkel Rudi), which he subsequently reproduces as prints or photographs. A prominent example of this approach are Richter’s 48 Portraits, which are shown as an edition in the me Collectors Room. The painterly models were shown in 1972 in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Although most famous for his paintings, over the last few years his editions have also increasingly become the focus of attention. The Olbricht Collection is the only institution worldwide that owns Richter’s editions in their entirety and can thus depict his oeuvre over a period of five decades.

In 1998 he summed up the importance of this particular part of his oeuvre in a letter to the Museum of Modern Art New York: ‘I saw, and still see, editions as a welcome counterpart to producing paintings, which are one-offs. Editions are a wonderful opportunity to present my work to a wider audience.’

The editions offer the artist the chance to try out and experiment with new artistic possibilities. For this reason, they cover a broad variety of media and genres, in which we see the artist applying widely different essential strategies: figuration, abstraction, monochromy, optical illusion, reflection, grids, geometric constructions, to name but a few.

Gerhard Richter’s portraits of the Olbricht Collection are still on show until 31.01.2020. Afterwards Richter’s abstractions from the Olbricht Collection will be shown until the beginning of May 2020.