La Biennale di Venezia: 36. Esposizione

36th Venice Biennale

German Pavilion, Venice, Italy

11 June 1972 – 01 October 1972

Stadtbild F
Townscape F

1968 200 cm x 200 cm Catalogue Raisonné: 177-3

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

Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (permanent loan from the collection: Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)



This artwork was shown in the following exhibitions:

This artwork is included in the following publications:

Title Author Date

Publisher

Prestel, München (2012)

Details

Hardback, 305 pages

ISBN

9783791351896

Language

German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 74-79 

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)

Details

Hardback, 304 pages

ISBN

978284426574X

Language

French

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkDiscussed: pp. 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81 

Exhibitions

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

Publisher

Tate Publishing (2011)

Details

Softcover, 304 pages

ISBN

9781854379443

ISBN

9781854379450

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 74-78 

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

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

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

Details

Hardback, 323 pages

ISBN

3937572201

ISBN

3926154764

Language

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. 250, 444 
Discussed: p. 203 

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

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
Zeitzeichen. Stationen Bildender Kunst in Nordrhein-Westfalen Ruhrberg, Karl  1989
Gerhard Richter. Bilder = Paintings 1962 - 1985 Harten, Jürgen / Hering, Karl-Heinz / Honisch, Dieter / Loock, Ulrich / Ronte, Dieter / Elger, Dietmar  1986

Publisher

Electra, Milan (1982)

Details

Hardback, 151 pages

Languages

English, Italian

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkIllustrated: p. 100 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Avanguardia Transavanguardia 68-77 Bonito Olivia, Achille  1982

Publisher

Ente Manifestazioni Genovesi, Genova (1972)

Details

Softcover, 377 pages

Language

Italian

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkIllustrated: p. 141 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Immagine per la città Gianfranco, Bruno / Boero, Federico Mario / Sborgi, Franco / Fagone, Vittorio  1972

Publisher

Museum Folkwang, Essen (1972)

Details

Hardback, 154 pages

Languages

Italian, German, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: pp. 10-11, 40 
Illustrated: pp. 65, 79 (b/w) 
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

Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (1971)

Details

Softcover, 136 pages

Language

German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 12 
Illustrated: p. 121 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Gerhard Richter. Arbeiten 1962-1971 Hering, Karl-Heinz / Helms, Dietrich  1971

1 related publication

Title Author Date
Die deutschen Beiträge zur Biennale Venedig, 1895-2007 Zeller, Ursula  2007