Saturday, December 31, 2011



The big Gerhard Richter retrospective called Panorama ends at Tate Modern in London on January 8th. After that it will move first to Berlin and then to Paris. Richter will turn 80 on the 9th of February.


In winter 2002 a similar Richter retrospective went on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That show first made me aware not only of Richter's range, but of the power of German painting at the end of the 20th century, as proved by his peers  Neo Rauch, Sigmar Polke, Tomma Abst, Dieter Roth, Albert Oehlen, Thomas Eggerer, Blinky Palermo, Imi Knoebel, and many others.


The three pictures on view here were included in that San Francisco show (Lesende, immediately above, is owned by SFMOMA) and are included in the current London show.

In the Panorama catalog Richter is quoted concerning his own creative relationship with Vermeer 

"The fact that his paintings are good, better than most others, has nothing to do with his special way of painting  it's connected with another quality entirely, a mysterious something. It's not about skill, the so-called craft. That's a given, and virtuosity alone has nothing to do with art. I don't know how I can describe the quality that is only found in art (be it music, literature, painting, or whatever). This quality, it's just there, and it endures."