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Gerhard Richter: Forty Years Of Painting Hardcover – February 2, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

The beautiful catalog Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting accompanies the Museum of Modern Art's retrospective of this prolific and important German artist. Richter's many artistic achievements vacillate between pure abstraction and a kind of realism. His realistic paintings, based primarily on personal photographs and images from newspapers, range in subject matter from the banal, like rolls of toilet paper, to the extremely potent, such as famous Nazi "doctor" Werner Hyde. The paintings have in common an emotional remove; the re-creating of photographic images points us toward our own possible emotional detachment to the influx of images in the world. A blurred chair, Jackie Kennedy, burning candles, family portraits--Richter lays them all out before us as if to say, Here, they are all the same. The insightful text by MoMA curator Robert Storr provides an in-depth look at Richter's life in postwar Germany, tracing the influences and environment that made his work possible. The book includes a revealing interview with the artist and a detailed chronology of his life and work, plus 138 color illustrations and 165 duotones. --J.P. Cohen

From Library Journal

With this catalog of the first major U.S. retrospective of the remarkably diverse paintings of the German-born Richter, Storr (senior curator of painting and sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, NY; Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977) sets out to increase our understanding of Richter to parallel that of American contemporary post-abstract expressionists (among them, Jasper Johns and Robert Ryman). Storr's fascinating introductory and biographical essay frames the historical, art, and personal movements that have provoked Richter's exploration of painting's place in a world rent by World War II, photography, and abstraction. Among other insights, Storr hits on the distancing discomfort of studying Richter's photo-based paintings when he cites the painter's "calculated discretion" in dealing with catastrophic subject matter, such as aspects of the Holocaust. Over 200 color and duotone images, gorgeously reproduced, firmly document the full range of this vital artist, encompassing everything from his intense, colorful abstractions to his gray-scale photo-reproductions to his highly realistic portraits and still lifes, and more. An interview with Richter fills out the book. This will be the standard on Richter for some time to come, and it is essential for all serious art collections. Rebecca Miller, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art, New York (February 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189102437X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891024375
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 10.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Vicperry on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The text:
First, there is the 75 page introduction Storr has written, placing the work in historical perspective. Why a retrospective, why now? Following this is the history of Richter's development from student to backwater (non-American) Pop artist with extensive references to other influential artists and reproductions of their work. Storr goes often beyond Richter's statements to supply his (Storr's) own close reading of the paintings. He finds Richter hides behind humor or simple misreadings of the work in order to conceal emotional attachment to themes.
Following is a valuable 22 page interview conducted in 2001. Robert Storr is an absolutely worthy interrogator of the artist. Storr had a previous extensive interview with Richter in '96. The text in Forty Years builds significantly on the ground covered previously. The two men are so in tune to each other, I miss the almost taunting flavor of the interview found in "The Daily Practice of Painting" between Richter and Benjamin Buchloh. Every page of the interview contains surprises or important points regarding Twentieth century art. Often, Storr's well-formed questions run a good paragraph long with Richter responding quite briefly and not too predictably. One could read the interview in random pieces, as themes develop over a few rounds of questions then the subject is often changed.
There is also a chronology outlining significant events both in Richter's career & artistic production as well as outside events such as student demonstrations, the fall of the Berlin Wall, various marriages.
The reproductions: I knew I was holding quality when I saw the two different studio shots that grace the front & back inner covers. The scholarly introduction has a few pictures of work not in the MOMA exhibit.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By F. Lennox Campello on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A lot of words been written lately about the �unexpected revival of painting� fueled by the current Gerhardt Richter painting retrospective captured in this book. It seems, according to some influential art scribes writing in the trail of this traveling exhibition, that the much heralded demise of painting, much like Mark Twain�s death, has been greatly exaggerated. Showcasing about 120 works over a 40-year period, this book is one of the most comprehensive retrospectives ever mounted about a contemporary painter in recent memory, and that by itself is a strong enough reason to buy it. However, it is what has been proven by Richter�s career and accomplishments, and unexpected stature in the art world (Sotheby�s recently dubbed him the �most influential living artist in the world�) and now driven home here, that makes this a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn some lessons about the contemporary art world. You see, Richter doesn�t fit the formula for success that many art curators and influential critics and other art powers-that-be have carefully crafted in the rarified atmospheres of the upper crusts of the art world. In fact, Richter breaks every �rule� that often starts being pressed upon 18-year old art students and then is hammered home in reviews and lectures by many contemporary art critics and curators. Rules like �you better have your own recognizable style!� or �only new is good� and the oddest rule of all: �painting is dead!� But Richter is not only a painter in an era forced to focus on video artists, performance stars and PhotoShop wonders, but also Richter wanders from style to style with an ease and speed that makes this book a lesson on half a dozen art movements of the last century beautifully continued onto the current one.Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By jym davis on September 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Behold, German painting! In a country whose artists tend to lay the paint on blut and thick, Richter is a notable contrast. He represents, along with Sigmar Polke, the best of a school of European painters who assimilated the American Pop Art scene. Don't expect the blazing cartoon colors of Lichtenstein though, Richter is a painter's painter, who has more depth and soul than Warhol ever could (surely by his own admission). But Richter's subject matter also comes from the mundane: a faded family snapshot, a clipping from a newspaper. Bits of emphemera blown up a hundred times and immortalized in oil paint. Clement Greenberg might abhore Richter's work more than the American Pop Artists: here is grand kitcsh by the hand of a master painter.
*note that I speak mostly of Richter's representative work, of which the book mostly focuses on. Also, the large Richter retrospective, having left N.Y., is still touring America for those interested
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Hovig on December 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Gerhard Richter is one of the finest Pop artists of the 20th century. ("Pop" because he is highly non-ideological, even depicting ideological subjects in a completely neutral fashion. His works are plain-old nice to look at.) This book is a beautiful representation of his work, chock-full of his painting, from his earliest works to his most recent, printed nicely in full color. It is specifically the catalog for the exhibit of his works at MOMA in early 2002 (which this reviewer attended, with great delight), but the exhibition was so broad, with a wide range of paintings across Richter's full career, the number of paintings in this book is satisfyingly broad.
Richter has dabbled in many styles, and continues to produce works to this day, but most often works with abstraction or semi-abstraction. His sense of color is wonderful, and his sense of vision is superb, by which I mean his paintings force you to stop and stare for long periods of time. Many of his paintings are like photographs taken just slightly out of focus. (He uses a projector, but modifies the image just enough to make you know a human did the work.) Their beauty truly makes you look long at them, and their skill makes you wonder how a person can achieve such subtle effects of lighting in painted oil on canvas.
This book also contains good explanations of Richter's work, but these can become tiresome at times. The worst is that the reviews and the plates are not indexed very well, so it is frustratingly difficult to find a given work, either in the list of plates, or in the various texts. This is a major disappointment, but never mind. The reason to purchase this book is the art. The text is explanatory enough to teach the reader about Richter's career and work, and serves its purpose well enough.
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