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Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (774-4) to be sold to realize Linda Pace's philanthropic vision
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), Abstraktes Bild (774-4). Oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 70 7/8in. (200 x 180cm.). Painted in 1992. Estimate: $14,000,000-18,000,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announced the upcoming sale of an important work by Gerhard Richter consigned by the Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio, Texas. Painted in 1992, at the height of Gerhard Richter's abstract practice, Abstraktes Bild (774-4) is a seminal example of his multi-layered abstract style that the artist began exploring in the late 1980's. First exhibited in Rome the same year of its execution, the painting was shown alongside an exclusive selection of Richter’s finest work from that year, a corpus that today stands as the most beautiful and dramatic body of abstract paintings ever created by the artist. Estimated $14-18 million, all proceeds from the sale of this work will be directed to establish a board-designated fund to achieve the Founder’s mandate to build an architecturally significant exhibition space to showcase the Linda Pace Foundation’s growing permanent collection to the public.

“We are honored that Christie’s has been entrusted with the sale of Abstraktes Bild (774-4) from the Linda Pace Foundation. Linda had a prescient vision for contemporary art, and was one of the first collectors who truly understood the new visual language in this series of paintings, with an ability to embrace both the aesthetic beauty and conceptual rigor of this dazzling canvas. Gerhard Richter is certainly the greatest abstract painter working today and Abstraktes Bild is among one of his most significant works, a superb testament to the artist’s mastery of the most spectacularly iconic forms of abstraction in contemporary art. The demand for such a masterpiece will be global and we anticipate excitement in the saleroom as international collectors compete for this major work,” declared Laura Paulson, Chairman and International Director for Post-War and Contemporary Art.

Painted the year he first exhibited his large scale Abstraktes Bild at Documenta IX in 1992, this particular example explores the stunning effect of the vertical grid, treated in high-keyed, saturated chromatic striations, refracted light careens throughout the surface, which emerges as cascades of chroma that, as Robert Storr writes, almost “sting the eye”. These electric colors arise from the spontaneous melding of pigment as the squeegee is scraped over the canvas. Moving randomly among the group of four pictures from one to the next in this cycle, Richter’s bodily rhythms, his intuitive sense of when to move forward and when to stand away, create the rhythmic alternations of smear, line, and blur, allowing the paint to move in a heady start and stop of intentionality and chance, where flames of red interpenetrate the almost blackened magenta or cobalt blue hues configure striations of blazing yellow and red, which in turn enfold the whole in a sumptuous blanket of impasto. Abstraktes Bild (744-4) is stunning for its surface agitations, a surface that has come about as a result only in part through chance operations. Richter sets certain boundaries – canvas size, originating palette, tools, the manner of scraping and drawing the squeegee over the canvas – yet allows the elements to take their course. It is the combination of parameters set by the artist and the chance operations he activates that produce such glorious surfaces as we find in Abstraktes Bild (744-4).

The extraordinary vision of artist, collector, and philanthropist Linda Pace is clear from her immediate appreciation of Gerhard Richter’s abstract work. Purchased by Pace for her private collection upon its creation, Abstraktes Bild has not left the residence since 1993. Her deep aesthetic understanding continues to be championed by the work of the Linda Pace Foundation, which was founded in 2003 with the mission to foster the creation, presentation, and understanding of innovative expression through contemporary art. With nearly nine million dollars in Foundation grants awarded to artists and contemporary arts organizations around the world, the vision of the Founder, Linda Pace, will be fulfilled by the sale of this magnificent work. Funds from the sale will be used to realize the one remaining Founder mandate, which is the establishment of an arts campus in San Antonio, Texas, the home of the Foundation, which will have as its centerpiece an exhibition space for the Foundation’s growing collection of over six hundred paintings, sculptures, installation and video works by international contemporary artists.

“The Linda Pace Foundation is proud to partner with Christie’s for the sale of Abstraktes Bild (774-4) an impressive and art-historically relevant example of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings, which has been on view in Linda Pace's private residence since its acquisition in 1993. The Foundation's acquisitions are guided by Pace’s own collecting style, which favored works that reflected her own feminist perspective, her engagement in social issues, and consideration of spirituality and beauty. Linda's generous aspirations to make her collection available to the public through an arts campus may be realized by her investment in Richter's important work, Abstraktes Bild (774-4).” Declared Foundation Trustee, Kathryn Kanjo.

Linda Pace (1945–2007) is one of those rare individuals, who took great risks in order to make her mark on the world. An inspirational figure, Pace was driven by the belief that art is a vital social force. A true visionary, she boldly fostered today’s most adventurous artists by establishing ArtPace San Antonio in her hometown, which offers artists from all over the world an environment that encourages experimentation and growth. In stewardship and execution of her curatorial aesthetic, as well as her vision and mandate to create an “artful campus”, proceeds from the sale of Richter's Abstraktes Bild (774-4) will establish a board-designated fund to realize an arts campus that includes a David Adjaye-designed building to exhibit the Foundation’s growing collection and serve as a destination for contemplation and experience of adventurous artwork from the recent past.

The Linda Pace Foundation was founded in 2003 and is governed by Trustees, all of whom were appointed by Linda Pace. The Foundation provides annual support to ArtPace - the internationally respected artist residency program that Linda founded in 1995; CHRISpark – San Antonio’s only privately owned and operated public park, dedicated to Linda’s son, with visual experiences designed by Teresita Fernandez; and SPACE opened in 2013 which provides the first opportunity to publically exhibit works of the Foundation’s contemporary art collection. Since its inception, the Foundation has loaned over 200 works to museums throughout the world and continues to expand its collection.

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