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Stuhl im Profil

Stuhl im Profil
椅子侧面图

1965 90 cm x 70 cm Catalogue Raisonné: 98

布面油画

The painting Chair in Profile depicts a simple wooden chair, viewed from one side; the chair back runs almost parallel to the left edge of the painting. The chair is positioned precisely within the image: the seat lies at the horizontal central plane and the distances between chair and the picture's edges are similar on every side. This results in an almost-square blank area in the image, enclosed by the chair back and seat. The light-coloured wall and dark floor in the background are reminiscent of Gerhard Richter's Kitchen Chair, from the same year [CR: 97]; in contrast to that work, the flat lighting of Chair in Profile creates a softer impression.

Richter here takes on an everyday motif, a chair, something which appears in two other paintings [CR: 97–99]. This particular chair in the painting Chair in Profile has another level of meaning, because it had already entered the art world as a work by Joseph Beuys: in conversation with Uwe M. Schneede, Gerhard Richter remarked that the painting was based on a photograph of Beuys' Fat Chair – a source image that is not included in Richter's Atlas.1

Richter here reuses Beuys' motif, but forgoes the addition Beuys had made to the chair: a wedge-shaped block of fat. In Richter's painting there is only the empty square space above the seat.

Joseph Beuys taught at Düsseldorf Academy since 1961, and was thus in Richter's immediate circle. Richter said of Beuys: 'he still fascinates me as a person more than anyone else; that special aura of his is something I've never come across either before or since.'2 However, Richter remained sceptical of Beuys' art: 'When I first saw the work, I wasn't all that interested; it was too eccentric for me. I'm increasingly in favour of the official, the classic, the universal.'3

The painting Chair in Profile gives the impression that Richter acted precisely in that sense. By using Beuys' chair, without the addition of the fat, as the subject of his painting, Richter restores its original state as an everyday object and its classical form – a form more consistent with Richter's own idea of art.

1 Uwe M. Schneede, Gerhard Richter's Images of an Era in: Gerhard Richter: Images of an Era, Hirmer Publishers, Munich, 2011, p.13/14.
2 Interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 1993 in: Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961–2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p.299.
3 Ibid.

Notes prepared by editorial team

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


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