Out Of Time

Weserburg, Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany

01 December 2007 – 02 March 2008

Matrosen
Sailors

1966 150 cm x 200 cm Catalogue Raisonné: 126

Oil on canvas

This painting depicts seven men in sailor’s uniforms, facing the viewer. Five of the men are shown standing while two further men are kneeling in front of them. Executed in a monochrome palette, its blurred contours give the painting the appearance of an out-of-focus photograph in which the motif seems to elude the viewer. About this at-the-time characteristic blurring in his paintings Richter asserts: “I blur things to make everything equally important and equally unimportant.”1

The work is based on a newspaper clipping that can be found on sheet 12 of Atlas, Richter’s collection of source material. The painting is not a one-to-one copy of the source image however as Richter altered the composition somewhat and two of the men in the photograph do not appear in the final work.

Group portraits such as this are a significant element in Richter’s early oeuvre. Starting in 1963 with the painting Party [CR 2-1], the subject recurs in his work throughout the 1960s: the 1964 paintings Family [CR 30], Negroes (Nuba) [CR 45]; Swimmers [CR 90] and Nurses [CR 93], both executed in 1965; and The Liechti Family [CR 117] that was painted in 1966, the same year as Sailors, to name but a few.

Sailors, as all of the works mentioned above, is based on a photographic source. Richter chose to paint from photographs because “the photograph is the most perfect picture. It does not change; it is absolute, and therefore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style. Both in its way of informing, and in what it informs of, it is my source.”2


When asked what the work means to him today, Richter replied: “I like that it is so very delicate and so blurred. The source image is from the same time I painted the picture. That was the first time since WW2 that we had seen pictures of the military. I myself was never in uniform. When I look at it now I remember particularly how strange and mysterious these men and their world seemed to me back then.”3

 

1 Gerhard Richter – Text: Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961-2007, Dietmar Elger and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Eds.), Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 33.

2 Ibid., p. 30.

3 Tittel, C. (2010) Gerhard Richter – Die Hälfte im Museum ist Müll [Gerhard Richter – Half of what’s in museums is rubbish], Welt Online [online], http://www.welt.de/kultur/article9843144/Gerhard-Richter-Die-Haelfte-im-Museum-ist-Muell.html (accessed 24/09/2010).


Notes prepared by editorial team

Sotheby's, New York, USA: 09 November 2010

Estimate: USD 6,000,000 – 8,000,000
Sold For:
USD 13,242,500 (incl. buyer’s premium)

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

DuMont, Köln (2009)

Details

Hardback, 176 pages

ISBN

9783832191542

Language

German

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 169 
Illustrated: p. 52 (colour) 

Exhibitions

The catalogue of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2009 focuses on Richter's portraiture

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

Publisher

National Portrait Gallery Publications, London (2009)

Details

Hardback, 176 pages

ISBN

9781855143975

Language

English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 169 
Illustrated: p. 52 (colour) 

Exhibitions

The catalogue of the exhibition Gerhard Richter. Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2009 focuses on Richter's portraiture

...
More Details
Gerhard Richter. Portraits. Painting Appearances Moorhouse, Paul  2009

Publisher

DuMont, Köln (2002)

Details

Hardback, 420 pages

ISBN

9783832158484

Language

German

Category

Monographs
ArtworkMentioned: p. 157 

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

Publisher

Museum Folkwang, Essen (1972)

Details

Hardback, 154 pages

Languages

Italian, German, English

Category

Solo Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 39 
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

Edition René Block, Berlin (1971)

Details

Hardback, 193 pages

Language

German

Category

Other publications

Notes

Published in two volumes: Grafik des Kapitalistischen Realismus 1: Werkverzeichnisse bis 1971; Grafik des Kapitalistischen Realismus 2: Werkverzeichnisse der Druckgrafik, September 1971 - May 1976

ArtworkIllustrated: p. 29 (b/w) 
Grafik des Kapitalistischen Realismus. KP Brehmer, Hödicke, Lueg, Polke, Richter, Vostell. Werkverzeichnisse bis 1971 Block, René / Vogel, Carl  1971

Publisher

Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (1967)

Details

Softcover, 84 pages

Language

German

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkMentioned: p. 56 

Exhibitions

Figurationen. Horst Antes, George Baselitz, Sine Hansen. Fritz Köthe, Uwe Lausen, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Heinrich Richter, Michael Schoenholtz, Lambert Maria Wintersberger, Paul Wunderlich Honisch, Dieter  1967

Publisher

studio b, Bamberg (1967)

Details

Softcover, 12 pages

Language

German

Category

Group Exhibitions
ArtworkIllustrated: p. 12 (b/w) 

Exhibitions

Pop art? Die Wirklichkeit in neuer Sicht Regus, Annemarie / Regus, Fritz / Grohmann, Will / La Motte, Manfred de / Ohff, Heinz / Strelow, Hans  1967

This artwork is shown or mentioned in the following videos: