Gerhard Richter: Painting After All

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

04 March 2020 – 05 July 2020

Stadtbild Paris
Townscape Paris

1968 200 cm x 200 cm Catalogue Raisonné: 175

Oil on canvas

If one looks at the large-format square townscapes [CR: 171, 175–177-3, 249–251], specific features of the artistic execution can be discerned.

In Townscape Madrid [CR: 171] streets, trees and buildings are clearly structured and easily recognisable. Some townscapes which were painted a little later on, such as Townscape Paris [CR: 175], Townscape D [CR: 176] and versions of Townscape F [CR: 177/1-3] and Townscape PL [CR: 249–251], appear to have been painted more quickly and less precisely; many details vanish due to the gestural and pastose application of paint. In Townscape Paris in particular, it is difficult to distinguish streets from houses.

Because of the missing details, the large-format cityscapes recall aerial photographs of post-war bombed-out cities – a parallel which Gerhard Richter himself draws in retrospect: "When I look back on the townscapes now, they do seem to me to recall certain images of the destruction of Dresden during the war."1

Gerhard Richter's artistic examination of figuration and abstraction in the townscapes also seems to play with distances: from afar the pictures can easily be identified as cityscapes, however, should the beholder move closer to the painting, the depiction dissolves into expanses and strokes of white, grey and black.

The artist plays with the viewer's urge to identify what is depicted, and it seems as if Richter himself tries to fathom when the image ceases to be recognisable.
Richter describes his preoccupation with bird’s-eye views of cities as "abandonment of the concept of interesting content and illusionistic painting; a spot of paint should be a spot of paint, and the motif needn't have a message or allow for interpretation."2 Nevertheless, in this series Gerhard Richter does not completely depart from his originally concrete motifs, as underlined by the choice of the descriptive title Townscape.

1 Comments on some works, 1991 in: Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961–2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 262
2 'Work Overview', 1968 in: Gerhard Richter: Text, p. 53

Notes prepared by editorial team

Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart, Germany



This artwork is based on an image included in Atlas:

This artwork was shown in the following exhibitions:

This artwork is included in the following publications:

Title Author Date

Publisher

The National Gallery in Prague, Prague (2017)

Details

Softcover, 205 pages

ISBN

9788070356463

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkDiscussed: p. 68 
Illustrated: p. 69 (colour) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter Elger, Dietmar / Fajt, Jiří   2017

Publisher

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland (2017)

Details

Hardback, 159 pages

ISBN

9781921503870

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 154 
Illustrated: p. 113 (colour) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images Hawker, Rosemary  2017

Publisher

The New York Review of Books, New York (2017)

Details

Softcover, 276 pages

ISBN

9781681370866

Language

English

Category

Monographs
ArtworkDiscussed: p. 131 
Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish: Essays McCarthy, Tom  2017

Publisher

Duke University Press, Durham (2017)

Details

Softcover, 163 pages

ISBN

9780822370017

Language

English

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 115-117 
Unconsolable Contemporary: Observing Gerhard Richter Rabinow, Paul  2017

Publisher

Prestel, München (2012)

Editor

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

Details

Hardback, 305 pages

ISBN

9783791351896

Language

German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 75, 207, 296, 74-79, 89 
Illustrated: p. 91 (colour) 

Exhibitions

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

Publisher

Édition du Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012)

Editor

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

Details

Hardback, 304 pages

ISBN

978-2844265746

ISBN

284426574X

Languages

French, English, French, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 75, 89, 207, 296 
Discussed: pp. 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81 
Illustrated: p. 91 (colour) 

Exhibitions

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

Publisher

Marsilio, Venezia (2011)

Details

Softcover, 219 pages

ISBN

9788831711128

Language

Italian

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 71, 118 
Il bordo del mondo: La forma sguardo nella pittura di Gerhard Richter Garbin, Emanuele  2011

Publisher

Tate Publishing, London (2011)

Details

Softcover, 288 pages

ISBN

1854379453

ISBN

978-1854379450

Language

English, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 296 
Discussed: pp. 75 (74-78) 
Illustrated: p. 91 (colour) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter: Panorama: A Retrospective Godfrey, Mark / Serota, Nicholas / Brill, Dorothée / Morineau, Camille / Borchardt-Hume, Achim / Dickson, Amy / Haidu, Rachel / Mehring, Christine  2011

Publisher

Tate Publishing, London (2010)

Details

Softcover, 96 pages

ISBN

9781854379641

Language

English

Category

Monographs
ArtworkDiscussed: pp. 65-69 
Illustrated: p. 66 (b/w) 

In this publication, eminent American scholar and curator Robert Storr offers an authoritative consideration of September, Richter’s 2005 painting made in response to the attacks on the WorldTrade Center of 11 September 2001

...
More Details
September. A History Painting by Gerhard Richter Storr, Robert  2010

Publisher

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL (2009)

Details

Hardback, 408 pages

ISBN

9780226203232

Language

English

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 158, 163, 201 
Illustrated: p. 159 (b/w) 

Gerhard Richter has been widely regarded as a publicity shy artist. However, the biography Gerhard Richter. A Life in Painting gives an insight into Richter’s personal history as well as into the development of his artistic œuvre

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. A Life in Painting Elger, Dietmar  2009

Publisher

DuMont, Köln (2008)

Details

Softcover, 415 pages

ISBN

9783832190651

Language

German

Category

Monographs

Notes

Corrected and extended new edition.

ArtworkMentioned: p. 225 
Discussed: pp. 181, 182 
Illustrated: p. 183 (b/w) 

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

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter, Maler Elger, Dietmar  2008

Publisher

Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit (2008)

Details

Hardback, 160 pages

ISBN

3775722483

Language

German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 137 

Exhibitions

The book was published on the occasion of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. Abstrakte Bilder at Museum Ludwig, Cologne and Haus der Kunst, Munich. The exhibitions were dedicated to Gerhard Richter’s abstract pictures

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter: Abstrakte Bilder Wilmes, Ulrich / Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. / Söntgen, Beate / Stemmrich, Gregor  2008

Publisher

Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit (2008)

Details

Hardback, 160 pages

ISBN

9783775722490

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 137 

Exhibitions

The book was published on the occasion of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. Abstrakte Bilder at Museum Ludwig, Cologne and Haus der Kunst, Munich. The exhibitions were dedicated to Gerhard Richter’s abstract pictures

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Large Abstracts Wilmes, Ulrich / Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. / Söntgen, Beate / Stemmrich, Gregor  2008
Die deutschen Beiträge zur Biennale Venedig, 1895-2007 Zeller, Ursula  2007

Publisher

Hatje Cantz, Ostildern-Ruit (2006)

Details

Hardback, 224 pages

ISBN

9783775717243

Language

German

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: p. 59 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter. Portraits is the first publication that focuses solely on Richter’s portraits, many of which have now gained both recognition and veneration across the globe

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Portraits Gronert, Stefan / Butin, Hubertus  2006

Publisher

Richter Verlag, Düsseldorf in association with D.A.P Distributed Art Publishers, New York, NY (2005)

Details

Hardback, 324 pages

ISBN

9783937572215

ISBN

393757221X

Language

English, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 27 

Exhibitions

This catalogue raisonné records Richter’s works in the years 1993-2004. In his work, Gerhard Richter calls into question painting's boundaries, and the labels applied to painting and theories connected with them

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Catalogue Raisonné 1993–2004 Zweite, Armin  2005

Publisher

Richter Verlag, Düsseldorf in association with D.A.P Distributed Art Publishers, New York, NY (2005)

Details

Hardback, 323 pages

ISBN

9783937572208

ISBN

978-3937572208

Language

German, German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 25, 26 

Exhibitions

This catalogue raisonné records Richter’s works in the years 1999-2004. In his work, Gerhard Richter calls into question painting's boundaries, and the labels applied to painting and theories connected with them

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Werkverzeichnis 1993-2004 Zweite, Armin  2005

Publisher

DuMont, Köln (2002)

Details

Hardback, 420 pages

ISBN

9783832158484

Language

German

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 201, 250 
Illustrated: p. 202 (b/w) 

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

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter, Maler Elger, Dietmar  2002

Publisher

Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern-Ruit (1999)

Details

Hardback, 216 pages

ISBN

3775790217

Language

German

Category

Group Exhibitions

Notes

Published on the occasion of the opening of the Museum of New Art, ZKM Karlsruhe on 04.12.1999

ArtworkIllustrated: p. 65 (colour) 

Exhibitions

KunstSammeln Adriani, Götz  1999

Publisher

Gli Ori, Prato (1999)

Details

Softcover, 205 pages

ISBN

8887700079

Languages

Italian, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 16, 30, 169, 171, 179, 181 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter Corà, Bruno / Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. / Chevrier, Jean Francois / Moscati, Italo  1999

Publisher

Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. (1998)

Details

Softcover, 172 pages

ISBN

345833937X

Language

German

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 53, 54 
Gerhard Richter, 18. Oktober 1977. Eine Kunst-Monographie Hemken, Kai-Uwe  1998

Publisher

Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit (1996)

Details

Hardback, 311 pages

ISBN

3893228608

Languages

English, German

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkDiscussed: pp. 38, 48 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer. Sammlung Frieder Burda = Collection Frieder Burda Poetter, Jochen / Brehm, Margrit / Möckel, Birgit  1996

Publisher

Tate Publishing, London (1991)

Details

144 pages

ISBN

9781854370846

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 27, 126 
Illustrated: p. 50 (colour) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter Rainbird, Sean / Severne, Judith  1991
Gerhard Richter. Bilder = Paintings 1962 - 1985 Harten, Jürgen / Hering, Karl-Heinz / Honisch, Dieter / Loock, Ulrich / Ronte, Dieter / Elger, Dietmar  1986

Publisher

DuMont, Köln (1981)

Details

Softcover, 524 pages

ISBN

377011292X

Language

German

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkIllustrated: p. 479 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Westkunst. Zeitgenössische Kunst seit 1939 Glozer, Laszlo  1981

Publisher

Museum Folkwang, Essen (1972)

Details

Hardback, 154 pages

Languages

Italian, German, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 10-11, 39 
Illustrated: pp. 65, 76 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter. 36. Biennale di Venezia, Padiglione tedesco = 36. Biennale in Venedig, Deutscher Pavilion = 36. Biennale in Venice, German Pavilion Honisch, Dieter / Helms, Dietrich / Honnef, Klaus / Ohff, Heinz / Dienst, Rolf Gunther / Schön, Rolf / Polke, Sigmar  1972

Publisher

Droste, Düsseldorf (1970)

Details

Softcover, 228 pages

Language

German

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: p. 228 
Illustrated: p. 196 (b/w) 
Noch Kunst. Neuestes aus deutschen Ateliers Dienst, Rolf-Gunter  1970

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