Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter is one of the most influential German painters.  He has been highly acclaimed for his photo-based painting and experiments in abstraction. His first grand solo exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo features 122 works. It covers oil paintings, photographs, digital prints, glass and mirrors.  I was really excited about seeing them. 

"Birkenau" consists of four enormous paintings matched with their photograph versions in exactly the same size and a large horizontal mirror work, "Grey Mirror".  Although apparently abstract paintings, hidden underneath are layers of images that were coped from photographs taken by a prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. 

*Birkenau is one of the Auschwitz concentration camps which produced a large number of victims.

In the section on overpainted photographs, you will see his brilliant technique in applying oil or other media to photographs. 

In abstract paintings, Richter used a large squeegee in order to smudge several thick layers of oil paint across canvas to create deeply textured mixes of color. 

According to a leaflet, "Richter has consistently tried presenting the principle of how we see and perceive objects, moving back and forth between representation and abstraction using a variety of materials such as oil paintings, photographs, digital prints, glass and mirrors."

Among them, "Aladdin" attracted my attention. Aladdin is a series of glass paintings, in which several colors of lacquer are applied to a panel. the surface is completely smooth. The size and color are perfect to my room!

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

June 7 through October 2, 2022

10:00 ~ 17:00  (10:00 ~ 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)

Closed on Mondays, except July 18 and September 19.
July 19,Tuesday and September 20, Tuesday.


Richter has turned 90 years old in 2022. The exhibition traces his wide-ranging practices over the last 60 years, showcasing 120 works, ranging from early works to the newest drawings.

Don't miss the chance to see Japan premiere of Richter's most important recent work!