Gerhard Richter (German, b. 1932- ) has long been fascinated with the relationship between photographic images and painting. In using photography as his primary reference, he says he can make a painting out of almost any subject, "not having to invent anything anymore...color, composition, space." While news story images, military aircraft, and family portraits have been recurring themes for Richter, in the late 60s he tended to focus on more natural scenes such as seascapes.
In these four paintings of sea and sky, Richter has used extreme detail and a mechanized blur to create worlds in which the human element has no place, but struck through with a breathtaking sense of eternal calm.
Seascape with Bird 170 cm x 170 cm oil on canvas 1970
Seascape (Cloudy) 200 cm x 200 cm oil on canvas 1969
Seascape (Sea-Sea) oil on canvas 200 cm x 200 cm 1970
Seascape oil on canvas 290 cm x 290 cm 1998
"The photograph is the most perfect picture. It does not change; it is absolute, and therefore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style. Both in its way of informing, and in what it informs of, it is my source."
"I see countless landscapes, photograph barely one in 100,000, and paint barely 1 in 100 of those that I photograph."
"One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is idiocy."- Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter photographed by Benjamin Katz in Köln, 1984