The German painter Gerhard Richter is considered the most highly endowed living painter in the world now. He leads numerous artist rankings. However, the personality behind the art giant appears completely different. The citizen of Dresden is very modest privately. He tries to avoid any fuss around him personally. Richter has not appeared in public for years. His health is no longer so good, so he prefers to stay at his house. He has also set up his studio there. In an interview with the German Press Agency, the 88-year-old painter caught the eye. When asked if he wanted to quit, he answered yes. He said that he is old now and did enough, so it is time for the younger painters to take this place on the worldwide art stage.
He just presented his three church windows for the Tholey monastery in Saarland. There he announced that it would undoubtedly be his last work number. The church windows got the number 957. When Richter began his work, he was already 30 years old. 1962 started a career that led him to the top of the art world. However, he started his studies at the Dresden Art Academy as early as 1951. In 1961 he went to the West. A visit to the Documenta art fair was decisive for leaving the GDR. At that time, GDR citizens could still travel. He financed his studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with figures that he made for carnival floats. That’s amazing when you consider the prices his paintings fetch today. In 2015 one of his works was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London for 41 million euros.
Never Say Never
His catalogue raisonné includes not only paintings but also sculptures. But that is all over now. With his departure from art, an era is coming to an end. However, his fans are sceptical. After all, Gerhard Richter had made similar public statements about ten years ago. But the painter changed his mind and had numerous works follow. But Richter now apparently has to pay tribute to his age. His work has become too strenuous for him. He now says himself that he can no longer. In any case, he doesn’t want to create any more pictures; a painting should be over.
According to his statements, he will not get bored now. He always has something to do. However, he is still creative. Richter has now switched to drawing. He uses coloured pencils and bold circles for his pencil work. This year Richter showed around 70 of his results in an exhibition in the Dresdner Albertinum. He announced that there might be more to come. Exhibitions in New York and Munich are already under discussion. As usual, the artist himself remains modest. The drawings are colourful and abstract, but not that great. That is typical of an artist who has kept critical distance throughout his life. He never followed a particular style or taste. He always deliberately pushed the commercial success of his art far away. His companions are willing to put his announcement into perspective and assume that Richter will continue to work artistically in some form.