Gerhard Richter (born in 1932) is considered one of the most important artists alive today. His work has radically questioned the fundamental principles of painting in a quite unprecedented manner and, at the same time, has opened up undreamt-of possibilities for a genre that many had declared dead: "The objective – to invent nothing, not a single idea, composition, theme, shape – and yet to maintain everything – composition, theme, shape, idea, picture," is how Richter himself describes his seemingly paradox attempt to produce the kind of painting that attempts to escape the subjectivity of the artist at all levels. The sheer diversity of his art, which makes a mockery of the classic term "style" and is quite unsettling in reach, has as its common denominator his rejection of the artist's creative subject, something to be encountered in all his work groups.
With no less than 28 works by Gerhard Richter dating from a period between 1957 and 2003, this exhibition designed by the artist himself covers a great deal of ground. A large number of prominent paintings come together to form a great panorama – from Waldstück, a blurred snapshot dating from 1965, and the colored panel painting Sechs Farben (1966) through 1969's Seestück (bewölkt), Schädel mit Kerze (1983), a painting with the feel of an Old Master to it, and a whole series of abstract pictures, all the way to Decke (1988), painted over the second version of his work Erhängte and produced in connection with his extensive cycle on the Red Army Faction, 18. Oktober 1977.
All the paintings on show come from the private collection of Ingrid and Dr. Georg Böckmann. Neues Museum considers it a great privilege recently to have received on permanent loan a total of 69 works by Gerhard Richter, Gotthard Graubner, A. R. Penck and Isa Genzken from the Böckmann Collection. As a result the Museum now boasts the world's third-largest collection of works by Gerhard Richter, pieces that it is proudly presenting for the first time – in this exhibition.