Junge deutsche Künstler. 14 x 14 – Leben im Museum
Young German Artists: 14 x 14 – Living in the Museum
Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, Germany
April 05, 1968 April 15, 1968
150 cm x 200 cm
Oil on canvas
Catalogue Raisonné: 133
The landscape-format painting Volker Bradke depicts a young man with horn-rimmed glasses, wearing a patterned shirt and a jacket. With a light smile on his lips, he looks past the viewer. In contrast to this, an older man and a girl in the middle distance look directly at the beholder, underlining the snapshot character of the image. Further passers-by stand or sit in front of a stone wall in the background.
The young Volker Bradke, portrayed here in larger than life size, sought to make connections in the Düsseldorf art scene of 1966, and could be found at numerous private views or art events. The photographic source image was taken by Gerhard Richter himself, at an art festival in Büdingen.
The picture was the starting point for a whole exhibition with Volker Bradke as its subject and was part of Hommage à Schmela at Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf. The series of exhibitions took place before the gallery moved to another location and comprised one-day shows by several artists – Joseph Beuys, Konrad Lueg and Sigmar Polke, amongst others.
Gerhard Richter's Volker Bradke exhibition took place on 13th December 1966. On a floral wallpaper installed by Konrad Lueg, Richter displayed not only the painting but also around 30 photographs, a banner and a film, all focusing on Volker Bradke.
The principle of blurring – executed here by Richter in his characteristic manner – is apparent in the blurred photographs and is also transferred into the medium of film.
For Gerhard Richter and his artist friends, Volker Bradke embodied the conformist man in the street, who the artist lifts out of normality by representing him in a large-scale oil painting, in accordance with the ideas of Pop Art.
In the exhibition this approach is raised to the level of the staging of a personality cult: paintings, photographs, banner and film are dedicated to one person. However, in this case this staged “cult” does not refer to any famous person, but to the unknown Volker Bradke. Gerhard Richter challenges the meaning of the adoration of such so-called icons and unmasks the superficiality of celebrity culture.
Notes prepared by editorial team
Christie's, London, UK - 09 February 2005
Sotheby's, New York, USA - 14 November 2001
This artwork is shown in the following exhibition videos:
Die Porträts von Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter Portraits. Painting Appearances
The catalogue of the exhibition Gerhard Richter: Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2009 focuses on Richter's portraiture. Author and curator Paul Moorhouse presents a [more]
Gerhard Richter. Maler
Gerhard Richter has been widely regarded as a publicity shy artist. However, the biography Gerhard Richter, Maler gives an insight into Richter’s personal history as well as into the [more]
Gerhard Richter. Atlas
Gerhard Richter. Bilder = Paintings 1962 - 1985
Harten, Jürgen / Hering, Karl-Heinz / Honisch, Dieter / Loock, Ulrich / Ronte, Dieter / Elger, Dietmar
Gerhard Richter. Arbeiten 1962-1971
Hering, Karl-Heinz / Helms, Dietrich
Neuer Realismus. Baehr, Berges, Diehl, Dornehge, Froese, Hiesserer, Hödicke, Köthe, Krüll, Lausen, Lueg, Petrick, Polke, Richter, Sorge, Wintersberger
Junge deutsche Künstler. 14 mal 14