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Sale: 489 / Evening Sale, June 07. 2019 in Munich Lot 177

 
Lot description
Portrait Karl-Heinz Hering. 1968.
Oil on canvas.
Elger 197-6. Verso signed and dated. Titled on the stretcher. 86.5 x 67 cm (34 x 26.3 in).

- From the artist's sought-after early period of the black and white photo pictures
- Stephan Gronert calls the portrait the most interesting picture from the group of the early portraits.
- Of utmost rarity on the art market
.

PROVENANCE: Collection Karl-Heinz Hering, Düsseldorf.
Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York.
Private collection Europe (since 2010, directly from aforementioned).

EXHIBITION: Gerhard Richter, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, February 12 - May 16, 2005; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich, June 4 - August 21, 2005.
Prima Facie. Works from the Igal Ahouvi Art Collection, The Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, December 27, 2015 - April 1, 2016.

LITERATURE: Armin Zweite, Sehen, Reflektieren, Erscheinen. Anmerkungen zum Werk von Gerhard Richter, in: Gerhard Richter, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf 2005, p. 14 (with illu. on p. 135).
Helga Meister, Vom Narrendekorateur über den heimlichen Fotografen zum Star (exhibition review: K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf), in: Westdeutsche Zeitung, February 20, 2005, p. 21 (with illu.).
Stefan Gronert, Das Portrait des Abbilds, in: Gerhard Richter. Porträts, Museumsberg Flensburg, 2006, pp. 94-95 (with illu. on p. 27).
Moderne und Zeitgenössische Kunst (auction catalog), Sturies Kunst & Auktionen, Düsseldorf, auction on June 6, 2006, lot 149, pp. 63-65 (with illu. XVII).
"The photo is the most perfect image; it does not change, it is absolute, meaning it is independent, unconditional, without style. For the way how it reports and what it reports it is my guide."
Gerhard Richter, quote after: Gerhard Richter, Text, Cologne 2008, p. 30.

Essay
The person depicted in this work is Karl-Heinz Hering (1928-2015), director of the ’Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen’ in Düsseldorf between 1955 and 1986. In 1971 he organized a first large solo show with works by Gerhard Richter at his institution. Hering was also in charge of the first grand retrospective in 1986, which was organized in cooperation with the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Apart from Düsseldorf, it was also shown in Berlin, Bern and Vienna. Richter’s black-and-white early creations from the 1960s, as well as his “Abstract Pictures” made as of 1976, have decisively coined the idea we have of Gerhard Richter’s artistic accomplishments today. Richter’s portraits, Alpine- and city pictures from those years are based on photographs, family pictures, advertising images or other forms of illustrations found in print media. The seemingly trivial pictures from his surroundings are the foundation of the unique pictorial language of his early period of creation. The work ”Portrait Karl-Heinz Hering“ was presumably not made as a commission, instead it is a document of the strong connection between the artist and Hering. The makeup of the composition – the turned upper part of the body, the slightly inclined head and the big smile – shows the typical features of a portrait shot at a neighborhood photo shop. Such models form the perfect basis for Richter’s works: ”A photo, as long as it wasn’t shot by an art photographer, is the best picture I can possibly think of.“ (Quote after: Armin Zweite, Sehen, Reflektieren, Erscheinen. Anmerkungen zum Werk von Gerhard Richter, in: Gerhard Richter, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf 2005, p. 14). He does not just copy the photo trying to stay as close to the model as possible. In this case he delivers proof of his great artistic skill to capture the motif on the canvas in an almost photo-realistic manner. Through the usage of different kinds of brushes – some that allow him to apply the paint in very thick brushstrokes and others, very fine ones with which he gently wipes the colors of his palette that is dominated by the typical values of black, white and shades of gray- Richter realizes the most subtly transitions and a technically perfect, entirely homogenous image surface. In a second step the motif is blurred and Richter attains the haziness that is so characteristic of works from this period. The irregular omission of the motif’s edges adds a special artistic twist to the portrait ofKarl-Heinz Hering, it seems as if it had never been fully completed. This means of artistic creation makes for a fascinating contrast to the portrait’s elsewise perfect execution and once more delivers proof of Gerhard Richter’s ingenuity. [SM]
177
Gerhard Richter
Portrait Karl-Heinz Hering, 1968.
Oil on canvas
Post auction sale: € 310,000 / $ 350,300
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