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Gerhard Richter

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180 Farben (180 Colors), 1971

About the Artwork

By presenting 180 color blocks set into a grid of raw canvas, Gerhard Richter laid bare the means of painting as a scientific enterprise. Starting by combining the three primary colors into twelve base colors, Richter followed the possible permutations by mixing fifteen hues of each, from light to dark. The shiny, flawless surface of the enamel paint squares against the untreated background further distills the empirical logic that governs the work, likening it more to a color chart or a sample kit than to a narrative or expressive painting. Such explorations of the potential and limits of painting have established Richter as one of the most influential living artists. Erica Battle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014, p. 377

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