Sotheby’s announces a major Richter abstract from 1994 that the artist held for many years in his own collection. The work is estimated at between 15m GBP or more and will appear in the London Contemporary Art Evening sale:
During the sixteen years that the work was in Richter’s collection, the painting was exhibited, at his behest, in 21 major shows throughout the world including the monumental exhibition of his work Atlas in Japan in 2001 and the landmark Richter retrospective Forty Years of Painting at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
As its title suggests, Wand (Wall) presents a compelling wall of colour with horizontal bands of cadmium red, blue and magenta that deliberately echo the chromatic intensity of a Mark Rothko. Richter directly acknowledged the prevailing influence of Abstract Expressionism but at the same time he recognised that it was no longer entirely relevant, “Pollock, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline, their heroism derived from the climate of their time, but we do not have this climate” (the artist in: Michael Kimmelmann, “Gerhard Richter: An Artist Beyond Isms”, The New York Times, January 27, 2002, n.p.). Instead Richter sought a ‘heroism’ for his own time and Wand (Wall) epitomises his achievements in this respect.