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Gerhard Richter: A Master of Abstraction

Arguably the greatest living painter working today, Gerhard Richter is a master of every style and genre of the medium. Richter is a recognized contributor to pop art, minimalism, neo-expressionism, photo-realism, and abstraction who has made portraits, landscapes, and still-lives. A major retrospective of Richter’s large abstract paintings traveled to two cities in Germany last year, and now New York’s Marian Goodman Gallery hosts his latest experiments with abstraction.

The show opens with a gallery full of large white monochromes, which are really paintings that contain layer upon layer of color overlaid with whites, which, after mixing with the other colors, become grays. Richter uses squeegees and other flat devices to smooth over the surface and veil the action below. Hints of color, especially greens in this series, are still evident.

Smaller paintings, utilizing a wet-on-wet manipulated build-up of various colors of paint, follow and lead into a new series of small poured and pushed-around lacquer-on-glass paintings. A pair of large, dark and dense paintings that holds all of the magic of a swamp shares the space of the back gallery with an equally powerful pair of large yellow-over-red-over-who-knows-how-many-colors canvases and a variety of smaller, but still stunning, works.

A painter who paints nothing at all but still makes works that show something, Richter holds a place of his own with an abstract style that couldn’t be duplicated without still being considered a Richter.

A catalogue for the current show, which runs through January 9, is available from the gallery, while a mongraph of the large abstract paintings, which was published by Hatje Cantz, can be purchased from Amazon.

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (910-1), 2009, Oil on canvas, 70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in. (180 x 180 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (908-4), 2009, Oil on wood, 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (50 x 70 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Sindbad (905/1-49), detail, 2008, Lacquer behind glass, Each 11 13/16 x 19 11/16 in. (30 x 50 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (911-2), 2009, Oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 118 1/8 in. (200 x 300 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Sindbad (905/1-49), detail, 2008, Lacquer behind glass, Each 11 13/16 x 19 11/16 in. (30 x 50 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (907-13), 2009, Oil on wood, 25 5/8 x 22 in. (65 x 56 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Sindbad (905/1-49), detail, 2008, Lacquer behind glass, Each 11 13/16 x 19 11/16 in. (30 x 50 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (906-5), 2008, Oil on wood, 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (40 x 40 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter,  Abstract Painting (894-1), 2005, 11 3/4 x 17 3/8 in. ( 30 x 44 cm ), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (894-1), 2005, Oil on aludibond, 11 3/4 x 17 3/8 in. (30 x 44 cm), Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

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