Gerhard Richter masterpiece stars at Christie's alongside Warhol

Here's another highlight from Christie's upcoming auction of an exceptional selection of Pop Art masterpieces at its Post-War and Contemporary Sale, on November 8 in New York.

Frau Niepenberg, painted in 1965, is one of the most dramatic and deliberately enigmatic works from the increasingly ambiguous series of photo-paintings that Gerhard Richter made throughout the mid-1960s (estimate $7,000,000 to $10,000,000).

Painted in the last months of 1965, it is one of a series of fictitious, even misleading images drawn from photographic sources that Richter constructed with meticulous and mock-mechanical precision.

One of Richter‟s ambitions in simulating photography in his work was to claim for painting the same sense of authority, authenticity and objectivity that is implicit in a photograph.

Gerhard Richter Frau Niepenberg
Gerhard Richter's Frau Niepenberg, painted in 1965 

"I'm not trying to imitate a photograph," Richter famously said of his 1960s photo-paintings, "I'm trying to make one," recognising that, although a photograph gives a far from true picture of reality, it does have fascinating pictorial qualities of its own - qualities that he believed could benefit the very different nature of painting.

"I was able to see... (the photograph) a picture which conveyed a different aspect to me, without all those conventional criteria which I formerly attached to art. There was no style, no composition, no judgment. It liberated me from personal experience. There was nothing but a pure picture."

"I blur things to make everything equally important and equally unimportant," he continued. "I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsman-like but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out of the excess of unimportant information."

The faux-mechanical nature of Richter‟s blurring was, he has said, something that may have derived from the inspiration of American Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol.

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