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Richter: Paintings from Private Collections at National Gallery of Scotland

EDINBURGH.-One of the greatest and most influential European artists of the last fifty years will be the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery Complex in Edinburgh this autumn. Gerhard Richter: Paintings from Private Collections will be the second installment in the Bank of Scotland totalART series, the largest ever sponsorship of modern art in Scotland. This will be the first time that such an exhibition has been seen in this country and the first large-scale survey of Richter’s work in the UK for nearly two decades.

Bank of Scotland has invested over £400,000 in Bank of Scotland totalART, which aims to ensure that modern art reaches the widest possible audience, creating educational and inspirational experiences for all. The series opened with the hugely successful Andy Warhol: A Celebration of Life…and Death, which brought 95,000 visitors to the National Gallery Complex in 2007.

Born in Dresden in 1932, Gerhard Richter has done more than any other living artist to put painting back on the agenda for artists, critics and the public alike. Since the early 1960s his paintings, both figurative and abstract, with their superb mastery of technique, strong conceptual underpinning, subtle ambivalence and sheer beauty, have had a huge impact on generations of artists, and have helped to make painting once again a vital means of artistic expression. Arguably, he is the world’s greatest living painter.

Bank of Scotland totalART: Gerhard Richter will offer an unrivalled overview of the artist’s career, bringing together over 60 paintings dating from 1963 right up to the recent past. The exhibition will include works from virtually every period of Richter’s development, beginning with his iconic black-and-white, photo-based works (which earned him the label of German Pop artist), and ending with his magisterial, sensuously coloured abstracts of the 1990s and beyond.

Working in a period in which painting has been deemed by many to be anachronistic and irrelevant, Richter has seemed determined to explore the full palette of possibilities that the medium has to offer: from figurative to abstract, from monochrome to multi-coloured, from flat, uniform application of paint to webs of swirling brushstrokes, from precise control to the use of chance. In this exhibition, Richter’s mastery of paint can be explored in many of his finest and most famous works.

The exhibition, which has been co-organised with the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden-Baden, the Albertina in Vienna and the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst in Duisburg, has been made possible by the generosity of five private collections, which between them possess an extraordinary range of Richter’s paintings, and moreover of supreme quality. In addition, a group of major paintings from the ARTIST ROOMS Collection, recently acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate from the Anthony d’Offay Collection, will be displayed for the first time.

During the autumn and winter of 2008-09, the British public will be able to enjoy two other major presentations of Richter’s work: 4900 Colours: Version II, at the Serpentine Gallery, London (23 September – 16 November 2008); and Gerhard Richter Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London (26 February – 31 May 2009).

Sarah Cran, Head of Sponsorship, HBOS plc said: “We are really looking forward to the Richter exhibition, the second exhibition in the Bank of Scotland totalART series. It promises to be a fantastic show. Richter is one of the greatest living contemporary artists and a true inspiration to many aspiring art students. Our innovative education programme which will accompany the exhibition will engage and educate these students. There will also be a number of unique and exciting projects specifically geared towards young children and adults, ensuring that people of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to experience Richter’s work first hand.”

John Leighton, Director-General, National Galleries of Scotland said: “Gerhard Richter is arguably the most important and influential contemporary artist alive today so I am delighted that this major show will be coming to Scotland as the second exhibition in the Bank of Scotland totalART series. I would like to thank Bank of Scotland for their continued support and I look forward to working with them to bring top-class modern and contemporary art to Scotland.”

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