Gerhard Richter : Painting After All

Yvonna Russell
3 min readMar 26, 2020
Forest Gerhard Richter (Courtesy of Met Breuer)

The Met Breuer final exhibition, “Gerhard Richter : Painting After All” is a tour de force. The museum has curated 100 works from his 60 year career. The stunning show validates Gerhard Richter’s art mastery. The collection of figurative paintings, photographs, portraits, abstraction expression and glass sculpture occupy two floors of the grey slate museum.

Uncle Rudy Gerhard Richter ( Courtesy of Met Breuer)

The 88 year old German artist did not attend the preview but his family was there. Longtime friend and co-curator Benjamin H.D Buchloh quoted Fredrick Douglas in his remarks, “Art should harness beauty but must always be governed by truth above all else : Truth is the soul of art, as of all things else”.

S. With Child Gerhard Richter ( Courtesy of Met Breuer)

This is the first U.S. exhibition since his 2002 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The show will continue. on to the Los Angeles Museum of Art in the Fall 2020. The two glass works, Grey Mirrors and House of Cards are debuted in the museum show. Twelve abstract paintings entitled Forest are in one gallery for an immersive experience.

The Birkenau series of paintings are inspired by photos taken by prisoners. inside a Nazi concentration camp. Blurred paintings of personal photographs from his first wife’s childhood uncover a complicated history with the Third Reich. The moving images address a painful mediation on the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the complex legacy of moral downfall and personal cop-ability.

4900 Colors Gerhard Richter (Courtesy of Met Breuer)

The romantic portraits of his third wife Sabine Moritz and their three children are too lovely to behold. The 1966 portraits of eight nurses who were murdered in Chicago on the same night are eulogized in greyscale with sorrow and dignity. With a nod to artist Barnett Newman, the artworks of chromatic abstraction are cool color charts.

Abstract Painting Gerhard Richter ( Courtesy of Met Breuer)

Cage is an homage to composer and philosopher John Cage. His innovative music compositions are inspiration for Richter’s painting with vibrant multilayered abstraction in a calculated effect. A video installation features Richter in his creative process of painting by pulling a squeegee of vibrant color paint across the canvas for his masterpieces.

Thanks to the curators Sheena Wagstaff Chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Modern and Contemporary Art and art historian. Benjamin H.D Buchloh with Brinda Kumar, assistant Met curator for the museum finale. Gratitude to the show sponsors Morgan Stanley, David S. Winter and the Modern and Contemporary Art Visiting Committee and Christies for their support for the powerful exhibition. The Met Breuer goes out in a blaze of glory.

“Gerhard Richter: Painting After All” at the Met Breuer on 945 Madison Avenue continues through July 5th in New York City.



Yvonna Russell

Yvonna Russell is a writer with over 10 years of experience in covering the arts, style, and good causes.