Photo Paintings


Between 1968 and 1970 Gerhard Richter produced nearly fifty cityscapes, which were based on photographic source images taken from architecture magazines. The source images were mainly aerial photographs of cities, but also included photographs of architectural models. Some of these source photographs can be found in Gerhard Richter's Atlas on sheets 106 to 124.

In transferring the source image into painting, the artist leaves the perspective unchanged and also retains the reduction to grayscale. The greatest influence from Richter derives from his choice of framing, whereby he selects predominantly square picture formats. Richter frequently omits areas of the source photograph that show prominent buildings and so could assist identification of the depicted area. The townscapes are characterised by often gestural brushwork – loose, wide brushstrokes which apply paint pastosely while leaving other parts of the canvas uncovered.

Notes prepared by editorial team