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Misc Painter August 7, 2004
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Gerhard Richter
1932-

Defying the image of the "single-minded" artist, Gerhard Richter has moved, over the course of his 40-year career, from realistic to conceptual to abstract and beyond. That said, his most immediately accessible pieces are almost certainly the paintings he's based on photographs, some ominously blurred, others blissfully accurate. According to SFMOMA's online companion to a recent Richter show, the artist views photographs very differently from paintings: "The photograph is the only picture that can truly convey information, even if it is technically faulty and the object can barely be identified. A painting of a murder is of no interest whatsoever: but a photograph of a murder fascinates everyone. This is something that just has to be incorporated into painting." In the late 80s, Richter attempted to bridge that gap with "October 18, 1977" -- a suite of paintings based on historic images associated with the deaths of Germany's notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang.


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