Gerhard Richter


About ELBE

31 monotypes
Linocut ink on paper
29.5 x 21 cm (each)
The original sheets numbered 18/19 to 30/31 are printed on both sides.

In 1957, Gerhard Richter produced a series of 31 monotypes, now known under the general title of Elbe, which is the name of the river running through Dresden. Before Richter fled from the GDR in 1961, he left these prints in the safekeeping of a friend.

The works are the result of experiments Richter undertook with an ink roller during a printing course. Usually the rubber roller would be used to apply the ink as evenly as possible to printing blocks from which prints were then made. Richter, however, inked the roller deliberately unevenly and then applied it directly to the paper. In this way he created broad tracks of black that vary considerably in their appearance.

The Elbe monotypes, printed on A4 paper, foreshadow Richter's later abstract works, and are fascinating in their subtle oscillation between figuration, landscape and abstraction.

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