Gerhard Richter, one of the most acclaimed painters working today, has joined David Zwirner, the mega-gallery with eight locations on three continents. The move will see Richter leave his longtime gallery, Marian Goodman, which had represented him for more than 30 years.
Richter, who this year turned 90, will have his first show with David Zwirner this coming March in New York.
“I have known David since his childhood as I had already in the 1960s worked closely with his father, Rudolf Zwirner,” Richter said in a statement. “I feel this represents a beautiful continuity across generations.”
Richter’s paintings have taken many different forms, from icy figurations to abstractions in dazzling colors. He has been credited with altering the course of painting and is considered a living legend in his home country of Germany. According to David Zwirner, Richter has appeared in Documenta, the esteemed recurring art exhibition in Kassel, more times than any other artist.
He first rose to fame in the ’60s with paintings that involved imagery based on photographs, which he reproduced in steely black and white and blurred slightly. Some of these works uncomfortably evoked Germany’s recent past by invoking the ghost of the Nazi party, whose ranks included some of Richter’s own family members.
Yet he is now better known for his abstractions, which are made using a squeegee that Richter pulls across his canvases. In so doing, he relinquishes control of what his paint will do as it is moved.
While Richter’s painting is conceptual and often rich with ideas, it has gained mass audiences around the world, and has even infiltrated pop culture, with a famed painting of a candle having appeared on the cover of a beloved Sonic Youth album. His influence has also been vast, and art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh recently endeavored to survey every part of Richter’s oeuvre in a long-awaited book that was finally released this year.
On the market, Richter’s paintings are prized as well. At auction, they regularly sell for tens of millions of dollars. His record, set in 2015, stands at $46.3 million, making him one of the most expensive living artists.
In a statement, dealer David Zwirner said, “To be able to work with Gerhard Richter is an immense honor and a great privilege. Richter has, without a doubt, created one of the most conceptually complex and aesthetically heterogeneous oeuvres in the history of art. By avoiding adherence to any single ideology or dogma, Richter has been able to both celebrate and subvert the very act of painting. In the process, he has single-handedly opened up the medium to entirely new possibilities and investigations.”