Been reading Gerhard Richter, A life in Painting by a biography written by Dietmar Eleger. This painting was first exhibited at a show named Neue Realisten. included Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerd Richter at Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal, Germany, November 20 1964 – January 01 1965 according to the artist’s information.
Rudolf Jahrling (Gallery Parnass owner / architect ) – according to the biography – was impressed by seeing the work set up outside on the front garden of the house and gave the visiting artists the opportunity to have a group show – which turned out to be some of the earliest key and important “emerging” opportunities for exhibition for Richter. There’s a snapshot of “tote” or Dead, (one of my favorite pictures of Richter’s “photo paintings” propted up against a chainlink fence next to some garbage cans upon which set more paintings… Imagine… it puts it all into another perspective – that of the humble beginings…. Early paintings were a bargained for $400 DM with as little as 1/3 going to artist and some paintings donated to the gallery to cover costs of exhibitions and catalogues…
Hard to imagine given the situation today, Sotheby’s reports that Neger (Nuba) 1964 just sold for a little over $5.6 million – (yeah million) as an key example of early “photo paintings” by Richter. I wonder what someone like Richter thinks about that…? I hope the work ends up in a public venue. See the catalogue here.
The thing about these photo paintings and Richter at a grand scale is not to think of appropriation, but to think about perhaps that it may just be that it takes a painting to be able to really see a documentary , or so called “objective” photograph …. The original photograph not incidentally by photographer Leni Riefenstahl… AKA “Hitler’s favorite filmmaker“…..