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The Cage paintings pay homage to the experimental composer John Cage. For Gerhard Richter Cage was a reference to avant-garde practice. Although Richter didn’t follow it, he respected the idea of it. The artists never met in person, Cage being two decades older than Richter, however, on numerous occasions, Richter attended Cage’s live performances and Cage saw Richter’s paintings in museums, there was this kinetic energy exchange between the two artists’ as well as for their practice.
When one looks at Richter’s six Cage works, they can almost hear the cracking, percussive audio texture that Cage was after in his work. Rich in colour, texture, and movement these abstract works are technically innovative on the elements of perception, created by smears of accidental collisions.
Richter works are created by layering very wet and very rich oil paintings to build up the surface, then the viewer is exposed to bursting layers of accidental paint that has been moved like lava. As Cage said “with accidents you do get to choose the ones you keep. The process of arriving to this result may be blinding however, the part that is not blind is to make the decision to keep or not.”
"With a brush you have control. The paint goes on the brush and you make the mark. From experience, you know exactly what will happen. With the squeegee, you lose control. Not all control, but some control. It depends on the angle, the pressure and the particular paint I am using.” —Gerhard Richter
A methodical painter, Richter uses his iconic form to create these works – similarly to his Bach paintings which he created in 1992, however, pairing six works in the series is a unique approach.
Market Performance: The full set in matching edition number was auctioned for the first time at Phillips London, April 16 2021 (lot 325). Sold for: £182,000 / €210,000 (including commission and droit-de-suite)
Note: We assume that about 20 complete portfolios have been sold to the public, the remaining individual editions were sold as singles.
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