Recent Acquisition: 17.7.215 (2) by Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter (German, b. 1932). 17.7.2015 (2), 2015. Oil on chromogenic color print, 4 1/4 x 6 in. Museum purchase with funds from David and Martha Moore; Burton and Suzanne Borgelt in honor of Linda Watson; the Elisabeth P. Myers Art Acquisition Endowment; and the Estate of Herman B Wells via the Joseph Granville and Anna Bernice Wells Memorial Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2017.82

The internationally recognized painter Gerhard Richter has consistently defied expectations of what one should paint and how. In the early 1960s, Richter gained notoriety with his blurry paintings based on smeared photographs. Never one to be pigeonholed by a single theme or style, he created images of color charts, monochromatic works, glass constructions, and abstract pictures executed with a squeegee. Richter even experimented with painting over his “failed” gray paintings with colorful streaks of paint.

In 1986, he began a series of overpainted photographs. By combining the implied realism of the photographic image, historically considered the most factual of all media, with abstract gestures, Richter raises questions about the nature of representation. As he said, “Abstract pictures…make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.” In this small, unique work, the juxtaposition of the thick impasto paint with a color photo of a forest taken by the artist leads us to draw our own inferences and to read the multicolor brushstrokes as floral, fungi, or ferns. Although the painting blocks almost two-thirds of the photograph, to Richter each element is equally important.

Nan Brewer
Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper

IU Eskenazi Museum of Art Website

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