Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter, Porträt Arnold Bode (Portrait of Arnold Bode, 1964), oil on canvas, Collection Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel and Städtische Kunstsammlung, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Considered to be perhaps the single most important living German painter, Gerhard Richter has often referred to visiting documenta 2 in 1959 as a turning point in his development as an artist, naming his encounters with the work of Lucio Fontana and Jackson Pollock as especially significant. At the time, Richter was still living in the GDR and working in a social-realist style; he would move to the West only two years later, shortly before the building of the Berlin Wall. Soon after, he started developing his signature gray-toned “photo paintings,” such as this 1964 portrait of documenta founder Arnold Bode, immortalized in what may well have been a reflective pause in the process of installing documenta 3.

—Dieter Roelstraete

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