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Richter title
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In addition to photographs from newspapers and magazines, from around 1964 Richter began also to use snapshots from old family albums as the basis for paintings. Unlike the more glamorous or sensational media images used by contemporary American and British Pop artists, such amateur photographs appealed to Richer because they were so familiar and ordinary. He commented: 'everyone has produced his own "devotional pictures": these are the likenesses of family and friends, preserved in remembrance of them'.

The paintings that resulted appear strange because, although enlarged from the original images, they are impressed, unmistakably, with the visual language of the family snapshot. Whether the individuals portrayed are shown on a beach, against a snowy backdrop, or positioned awkwardly in a domestic setting, such painted images convey a sense of viewing the subject or scene through the lens of a camera. This contradictory impression draws attention to the conventions underpinning the photographic original. By blurring the image, Richter suggests that the painting is an imprecise representation of reality. The essential nature of figures we see remains mysterious.
contd...

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Horst mit Hund by Gerhard Richter, 1965
Agnes Gund Collection, New York
© Gerhard Richter, 2009

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