Gerhard Richter: 48 Portraits

Gerhard Richter: 48 Portraits

Midland Group NottinghamNottinghamUK

16 September 1978 - 21 October 1978

48 Portraits (François Mauriac)

48 Portraits (François Mauriac)
48 Portraits (François Mauriac)

1971/72 70 cm x 55 cm Catalogue Raisonné: 324-25

Oil on canvas

François Mauriac (1885 – 1970) was a French author and Nobel Prize laureate in Literature in 1952. He was one of the most prominent dramatists of the interwar period and moreover worked as a political journalist that decidedly fought for his left-wing catholic convictions. Since 1933 he was also a member of the Académie française. 

 

Gerhard Richter painted 48 Portraits for the German pavilion of the 1972 Venice Biennale. He created 48 individual portraits of historical figures for the exhibition space of the pavilion: writers, scientists, composers and philosophers can be found, whereas politicians and artists are not represented. Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein and Oscar Wilde are among the most famous, alongside some less-known individuals.

 

The 48 Portraits depict solely white central European and American males, born between 1824 and 1904. Richter selected them from 270 portrait photographs that he had taken from encyclopaedias and lexicons and collected in his Atlas [Sheets: 3041].

 

The paintings were directly based on the source images from Atlas. The choice of a standardised format (70 x 55 cm) and source images similar in form underline the uniformity of the paintings. The realisation in greyscale as well as the soft rendering of the faces that show only few wrinkles or unevenness, make the pictures appear as homogeneous entity.

 

48 Portraits have often been interpreted in relation to Richter's personal history and beliefs. However, the individuality of the depicted people seems to have limited significance because the artist homogenised their features during the process of painting. 'I am interested in the speechless language of these pictures. Heads, even if they are full of literature and philosophy, become quite unliterary. Literature is invalidated; the personalities become anonymous. That's what is important to me here.'1

 

The German pavilion at the Venice Biennale was reconstructed in 1938 and therefore reflects the architecture of National Socialist Germany. In the framework of this unadorned monumental architecture, the choice of the portrait genre evokes associations of portraits of political leaders. In opposition to this, Richter creates a multiplicity of portraits omitting the depictions of politicians. Hence the architecture and the work 48 Portraits could be seen as complementing one another.

 

The fact that no women were included in the series of portraits lead to speculations. In retrospect, Richter explained the circumstances as follows: 'And as I mentioned, you also have the psychological or subjective timeliness of the father problem. This affects all of society. I am not talking about myself because that would be rather uninteresting, but the absence of the father is a typical German problem. That is the reason for such agitation; that is why this work has such a disquieting effect.'2

 

The work 48 Portraits does not allow conclusions to be drawn whether Richter had any personal appreciation toward certain persons: '(…) I didn't want to intimate any specific ideology or theme. I wanted pure pictures that wouldn't be subject to ideological interpretation' stated Gerhard Richter.3 However, the work needs to be regarded in relation to its time of origin and the space it was created for. It is therefore inevitably interwoven with the artist's own history.

 

Notes prepared by editorial team


1 Conversation with Mathias Schreiber, 1972 in: Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters, 1961–2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 63

2 MoMA Interview with Robert Storr, 2002 in: Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters, 1961–2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 422.

3 Conversation with Mathias Schreiber, 1972, p. 63

 

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Title Author Date

Issue

01 January 2003

Publisher

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Details

Softcover , 336 pages

ISBN

0870703552

Category

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Gerhard Richter is widely recognized as one of the most significant painters working today, and he is certainly among the most influential. He has worked in a wide range of media since the early 1960s, producing abstractions, landscapes, images derived from the mass media and from other photographs, and more. Seen together, these works call into question such widely held assumptions as the importance of stylistic consistency, individual artistic sensibility and spontaneous creativity. They also explore the impact of technology and media imagery on the traditional methods and formats of painting.

The Museum of Modern Art has published two important books on Richter, both written by Robert Storr: one covering forty years of his work, and published to accompany the Museum's large retrospective of his work in 2002, and one focusing on a single crucial series, October 18, 1977. This book brings together the essays and recent interviews from both of those books in a single volume.

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Doubt and Belief in Painting Storr, Robert 2003

Issue

01 January 2002

Publisher

Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit

Details

Hardback , 340 pages

ISBN

9783775711692

Category

Solo Exhibitions
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Exhibitions

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. 40 Years of Painting at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this publication represents a broad range of Gerhard Richter's paintings of the last 40 years.

 

Gerhard Richter's diverse body of work questions broadly held attitudes about the inherent importance of stylistic consistency for an artist. It ranges from photo-based pictures all across the board to gestural abstraction. The 'natural' evolution of individual artistic sensibility, the spontaneous component of creativity and the relationship of technological means and mass media imagery to traditional studio methods and formats. Richter has always kept his distance from revolutionaries and conservatives alike regarding what painting “should” be. This has resulted in what has been among the most convincing renewal of painting's vitality in late 20th- and early 21st-century art.

 

This publication consists of a critical essay by curator Robert Storr, a rare interview with the artist himself, a chronology, an exhibition history, and nearly 300 colour and duotone reproductions.

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Malerei Storr, Robert 2002

Issue

01 January 2002

Publisher

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Details

Hardback Softcover , 340 pages

ISBN

189102437X

Category

Solo Exhibitions
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Illustrated: p. 209 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 72
Illustrated: p. 224 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 72
Illustrated: p. 226, 227 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 78
Illustrated: p. 228, 229 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 78
Illustrated: p. 230, 231 (colour)
Illustrated: p. 232 (colour)
Illustrated: p. 233 (colour)
Illustrated: p. 234 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 37, 92, 292
Illustrated: p. 112 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 37, 92, 292
Mentioned: pp. 37, 92, 292
Illustrated: p. 113 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 84
Discussed: pp. 81, 82
Illustrated: p. 235 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 84
Illustrated: p. 236 (colour)

Exhibitions

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. 40 Years of Painting at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this publication represents a broad range of Gerhard Richter's paintings of the last 40 years.

 

Gerhard Richter's diverse body of work questions broadly held attitudes about the inherent importance of stylistic consistency for an artist. It ranges from photo-based pictures all across the board to gestural abstraction. The 'natural' evolution of individual artistic sensibility, the spontaneous component of creativity and the relationship of technological means and mass media imagery to traditional studio methods and formats. Richter has always kept his distance from revolutionaries and conservatives alike regarding what painting “should” be. This has resulted in what has been among the most convincing renewal of painting's vitality in late 20th- and early 21st-century art.

 

This publication consists of a critical essay by curator Robert Storr, a rare interview with the artist himself, a chronology, an exhibition history, and nearly 300 colour and duotone reproductions.

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Forty Years of Painting Storr, Robert 2002

Issue

01 January 1976

Publisher

Verlag Aurel Bongers, Recklinghausen

Details

Hardback , 72 pages

ISBN

3764702877

Category

Monographs

Notes

Monographien zur rheinisch-westfälischen Kunst der Gegenwart, Volume 50.

Artwork Mentioned: pp. 20
Mentioned: pp. 25

Illustrated: p. 21 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 18

Illustrated: p. 22 (b/w)
Discussed: pp. 8, 9
Illustrated: p. 5 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 38 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 11

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Discussed: pp. 8, 9

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Discussed: pp. 46
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Mentioned: pp. 18

Illustrated: p. 17 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 11

Illustrated: p. 12 (b/w)
Illustrated: p. 45 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 45 (colour)
Illustrated: p. 45 (colour)
Illustrated: p. 63 (colour)

Illustrated: p. 55 (b/w)

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Illustrated: p. 71 (b/w)
Illustrated: p. 70 (colour)

Illustrated: p. 33 (b/w)

Illustrated: p. 33 (b/w)
Gerhard Richter Honnef, Klaus 1976

Issue

01 January 2009

Publisher

DuMont, Köln

Details

Hardback , 176 pages

ISBN

9783832191542

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 86 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 22 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 171
Illustrated: p. 117 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 51 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 170
Illustrated: p. 93 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 92 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 52 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 53 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 170
Illustrated: p. 91 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 94, 95 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 116, 171
Illustrated: p. 118 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 171
Discussed: pp. 108, 109, 110, 111
Illustrated: p. 121 (colour)
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Discussed: pp. 43, 44
Illustrated: p. 36 (Detail), 38 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 96 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 20 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 44
Illustrated: p. 42 (colour)
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Discussed: pp. 44
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Illustrated: p. 61 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 115 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 120, 171
Illustrated: p. 135 (colour)

Exhibitions

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 systematic examination of Richter's work within this genre. The portraits, exclusively painted after photographic source images, are categorised according to their origin. The chapter "Devotional Pictures" compiles images that can be traced back to family photo albums, whereas the source images in the chapter "Continual Uncertainty" mostly derive from newspapers or magazines and reflect the zeitgeist.  However, the greatest share is formed by portraits of people from Richter's intimate circle: artists, friends and family members.

With over a hundred full-colour illustrations, Gerhard Richter. Portraits. Painting Appearances makes an important contribution to our understanding of the artist's work within this genre.

...
More Details
Die Porträts von Gerhard Richter Moorhouse, Paul 2009

Issue

01 January 2009

Publisher

National Portrait Gallery Publications, London

Details

Hardback , 176 pages

ISBN

9781855143975

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 86 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 22 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 16, 169
Illustrated: p. 17 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 171
Illustrated: p. 117 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 51 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 170
Illustrated: p. 93 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 92 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 52 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Illustrated: p. 53 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 170
Illustrated: p. 91 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 88, 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 94, 95 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 116, 171
Illustrated: p. 118 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 171
Discussed: pp. 108, 109, 110, 111
Illustrated: p. 121 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 169
Discussed: pp. 43, 44
Illustrated: p. 36 (Detail), 38 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 89, 170
Illustrated: p. 96 (colour)
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Mentioned: pp. 169

Illustrated: p. 20 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 40, 43
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Discussed: pp. 44
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Discussed: pp. 120
Illustrated: p. 131 (colour)

Exhibitions

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 systematic examination of Richter's work within this genre. The portraits, exclusively painted after photographic source images, are categorised according to their origin. The chapter "Devotional Pictures" compiles images that can be traced back to family photo albums, whereas the source images in the chapter "Continual Uncertainty" mostly derive from newspapers or magazines and reflect the zeitgeist.  However, the greatest share is formed by portraits of people from Richter's intimate circle: artists, friends and family members.

With over a hundred full-colour illustrations, Gerhard Richter. Portraits. Painting Appearances makes an important contribution to our understanding of the artist's work within this genre.
 

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Gerhard Richter. Portraits. Painting Appearances Moorhouse, Paul 2009

Issue

01 January 2012

Publisher

Prestel, München

Editor

Godfrey, Mark / Serota, Nicholas / Brill, Dorothée / Morineau, Camille

Details

Hardback , 305 pages

ISBN

9783791351896

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 29, 39, 74, 245, 283, 296
Illustrated: p. 46 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 296
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Mentioned: pp. 124, 296
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Mentioned: pp. 12, 23, 41, 73, 164, 285, 296
Illustrated: p. 65 (colour)
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Mentioned: pp. 23, 248, 285, 291, 296
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Mentioned: pp. 89, 74-79
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Illustrated: p. 92 (colour)
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Discussed: pp. 202
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Illustrated: p. 102 (colour)
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Discussed: pp. 82-83
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Illustrated: p. 110 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
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Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212, 287
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212, 287
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212, 287
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212, 287
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 73, 76, 88, 136, 168, 202, 212
Illustrated: p. 108, 109, 288 (colour)

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter: Panorama: Retrospektive Godfrey, Mark / Serota, Nicholas / Brill, Dorothée / Morineau, Camille / Borchardt-Hume, Achim / Dickson, Amy / Haidu, Rachel / Mehring, Christine 2012

Issue

01 January 2005

Publisher

Pendo Verlag, München & Zürich

Details

Hardback , 304 pages

ISBN

3866120583

Category

Monographs
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 214
Mentioned: pp. 245, 246

Illustrated: p. 245 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 18
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Illustrated: p. 11 (b/w)

Illustrated: p. 111 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 241 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 19, 58, 245, 246

Illustrated: p. 249 (b/w)
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Ein Maler aus Deutschland. Gerhard Richter. Das Drama einer Familie Schreiber, Jürgen 2005

Issue

01 January 1989

Publisher

Verlag Fred Jahn, München

Details

Hardback , 236 pages

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 17
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Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter: Atlas Zweite, Armin 1989

Issue

01 January 2002

Publisher

DuMont, Köln

Details

Hardback , 420 pages

ISBN

9783832158484

Category

Monographs
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 95, 108, 206, 210, 274, 348, 355, 425
Discussed: pp. 60, 62, 64

Illustrated: p. 63 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 94, 105
Discussed: pp. 164
Discussed: pp. 172

Illustrated: p. 174 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 166
Mentioned: pp. 60
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Mentioned: pp. 441
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Illustrated: p. 130 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 100
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Mentioned: pp. 275, 278
Mentioned: pp. 206
Discussed: pp. 166
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Illustrated: p. 165 (b/w)
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Discussed: pp. 204

Illustrated: p. 109 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 154 (b/w)
Mentioned: pp. 164
Mentioned: pp. 90, 163, 274, 444
Discussed: pp. 148, 149
Mentioned: pp. 142, 163, 168, 185, 198, 200, 283, 425
Discussed: pp. 144, 145, 147, 408, 411
Illustrated: p. 146 (colour)
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Mentioned: pp. 206
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Illustrated: p. 186, 187 (colour) (colour)
Mentioned: pp. 282
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Illustrated: p. 186 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 186 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 186 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 138 (b/w)
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Mentioned: pp. 67, 92, 105, 123, 275, 282, 441
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Illustrated: p. 138, 139 (b/w)
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Illustrated: p. 189 (b/w)
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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 development of his artistic œuvre.
Besides an evaluation of numerous letters and material from the Gerhard Richter archive, the book includes conversations with the artist as well as several of his contemporaries. Dietmar Elger, director of the Gerhard Richter Archive, describes Richter’s daily studio routine and his creative process. Thanks to detailed background information, this book contributes to an understanding of Richter’s art in connection with his life.

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More Details
Gerhard Richter, Maler Elger, Dietmar 2002

Issue

01 January 1989

Publisher

Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Details

Softcover , 166 pages

ISBN

9069180464

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 23, 24
Discussed: pp. 18, 19, 20

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Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter 1988/89 Schampers, Karel / Tilroe, Anna / Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. 1989

Issue

01 January 2005

Publisher

Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit / Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf

Details

Hardback , 96 pages

ISBN

9783775715836

Category

Solo Exhibitions
Artwork Mentioned: pp. 37, 38
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Mentioned: pp. 8, 9, 35, 36, 86, 87
Illustrated: p. 8, 36 (colour)
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