Neger (Nuba) – Gerhard Richter

Negroes (Nuba), Gerhard Richter

Neger (Nuba)

Negroes (Nuba)
145 cm X 200 cm
Oil on canvas
Catalogue Raisonné: 45
Gerhard Richter

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“…..


Worthwhile reading…

Currently reading (and enjoying) :

Why Photography Matters as Art as Never BeforeMichael Fried

The Daily Practice of PaintingGerhard Richter

I am finding that each book is particularly worthwhile reading. Of course, reading about other’s works – whether crafted by the artist or an other observer always carries certain risks of an inescapable interpretation.  Thankfully, I’m finding these two readings above, a useful way to engage looking at photography albeit from a particular circumstance or point of view – a context let’s say.  However, I’m finding new appreciation for the work of Jeff Wall who I’ve naively (in the best sense) admired before reading about his work through Fried’s interpretations…. I admittedly lacking an express “understanding” or “reading” as presented … but now with (perhaps) new (or maybe just better articulation) and further insight into the work. Either way,  I’m happy to note that I continue to admire both (Wall and Richter)…

Gerhard Richter’s “Kugel”


Originally published:  March 29, 2005

Note: This is not a photo that I took – it is a web image from the resource (collection) on Gehard Richter’s Paintings, Watercolors and
Multiples for which proper credit maybe found and attributed here:

My comments…..the orb is particular in capturing the moment (trace?) in this picture of the art piece. The reflection in the all seeing – the instant of recording – context, photographer and apparatus.  The picture preserves a trace of the subject/viewer relationship that in “reality” is always shifting and requires that  you be present in the now to participate…

I love how the photo provides another space for interpretation of the piece.

The photograph provides a separation distance between you and the orb – more precisely, the presence of an image in your likeness which can only occur obviously given the situation “in real time” between you and the orb…    You see your likeness in the mirror… Here through the photograph – the separation distance is quite apparent as it offers a glimpse of the relationship to the moment when a photograph was taken….

Gerhard Richter
Diameter: 8 cm
Ball of high-grade steel
signed, dated and numbered by engraving “A.P. 5/5 Richter 1989”


What does this have to do with “modern photography”?  …  The work by Matthew Jordan comes to mind…

Untitled 2008, Matthew Jordan – From his series “half empty“… more here….