This is my blog, but I’m not old enough or grand enough for such a lofty title.  But THIS GUY is a heavyweight, grandmaster art genius….German artist, Gerhard Richter is the subject of this article. He is widely regarded as as the greatest living painter, yet many are not familiar with him or his work. I hadn’t even heard of him until recently (7 years ago) when I became an artist myself. He quickly became one of my favorites and has been a source of great inspiration. At 85 years old, after a long and varied career, he is still regularly cranking out modern masterpieces. His paintings sell for tens of millions. The painting below sold for $46.3 million dollars in 2015!

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Abstraktes Bild (#599)

Here is a video showing intricate details of this same painting.

When I saw Richter’s abstract paintings I thought they were astounding. “Now here’s an artist I can learn from just by studying his work.” Trying to mimic his technique, though, was nearly impossible because very little had been made public about it. More about that later…

I was further impressed to realize that this man had mastered various other styles of painting, not just abstract! For instance, his realistic portraits, figures and landscapes showed the craftmanship of a great master. Here are some of those paintings to ponder:

Yes, these are oil paintings and NOT photographs! Luckily for me and other lovers of inventive “non-representational” art, Richter’s path took a turn toward the abstract. Many artists of Mr. Richter’s stature do not maintain a website, preferring to only be represented by high-end galleries and museum shows. However, I am very pleased to say here that you can visit Gerhard Richter’s Official Website to view thousands of his paintings, drawings, watercolors, photos, videos and articles. It is an exhaustive and carefully done documentation of his life’s work.

Some of my favorites by the master appear below. These are the paintings that helped launch my own Art Adventure.

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Gerhard Richter developed a technique of creating complex layers of color by scraping the surface of a painting to reveal previous layers. Hearing that, I tried various implements to achieve similar results, but to no avail. Three reasons for my failure were:

1. I was a total beginner, not knowing what I was doing

2. He was using oil whereas I used acrylic paint

3. Outsiders had never seen his method in action

This technique was finally revealed in the 2012 film, “Gerhard Richter Painting”. Among other things, it shows the huge custom-made tools used on his paintings. Here is an excerpt:

Another new genre was pioneered by Gerhard Richter – “Overpainted Photographs”. Richter selects rather mundane photographs that he has taken and simply paints over them. In the process he produces highly creative and shockingly beautiful art. These are some of the images that just blow my mind!







Thanks for joining me on this excursion through the work of Gerhard Richter,

“The Grand Old Man of Abstract Art”


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