The Kinsky Palace and the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia host the exhibition of one of the most widely recognized artists of the past decades.
The first retrospective of Gerhard Richter in Central and Eastern Europe, bringing together more than seventy of his works, is opened in the National Gallery in Prague from April 26 till September 3.
The exhibition presents all facets of Richter’s oeuvre: the iconic portraits of his daughters Betty and Ella painted from photographs, paintings that reflect everyday life as well as historical and topical social issues, mountain- and seascapes, monochrome grey paintings, expressive abstract compositions, a series of computer-processed geometric Strips, and his famous Colour Charts that inspired the assignment of the monumental stained-glass windows for the Gothic Cathedral in Cologne. The Uncle Rudi painting, portraying Richter’s uncle as a Nazi soldier, which the artist donated to Lidice half a century ago, is loaned to the exhibition from the Lidice Collection of Fine Arts. Also on view are sheets from his legendary Atlas – a collection of photographs he made, newspaper clippings and drawings that Richter systematically collected as preparatory material from the 1960s.
“Many art critics acknowledge Gerhard Richter as the greatest living artist. The exhibition at Kinsky Palace and the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia in Prague surveys his nearly sixty-year-long artistic career,” says Jiří Fajt, General Director of the National Gallery in Prague and curator of the exhibition.
Betty, 1977, oil on canvas, Köln, Museum Ludwig
Born in 1932 in Dresden, Gerhard Richter became one of the first German artists of his generation, who assumed a stance on his country’s Nazi history in his art. Richter was closely confronted with Nazism in his own family. “However, Richter himself does not see, nor does he want his work to refer to, German history as a subject matter. Nor does he want his work to be interpreted didactically or be dramatized in any way,” explains Jiří Fajt.
Stíhací letouny Phantom, 1964, olej na plátně, Stuttgart, Froehlich Collection
The main part of the exhibition is installed in Kinsky Palace. The building’s ground floor, with a new visitors’ area, ticket counter, information centre and art shop, has been refurbished to accommodate this exhibition project. The palace courtyard acquaints visitors with the timeline of Richter’s life and guides them to the former horse stables on the ground floor, where the artist’s self-made film and documentary films about Richter’s oeuvre are shown, such as the celebrated feature film Painting. The key works of art are exhibited on the second floor. The nearby Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia hosts the second, more modest, part of the exhibition, showing the artist’s series of paintings entitled Birkenau that reflect the suffering and horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and a monumental glass object capturing an interplay of light reflection and refraction.
The exhibition has been prepared in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and is part of the Czech-German Cultural Spring 2017.
Gudrun, 1987, oil on canvas, Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton