Most Expensive Artist – Gerhard Richter is a painter and visual artist in Dresden, Germany, who recently turned 80. An exhibition dedicated to him, entitled “Gerhard Richter: Panorama”, is having great success in European museums, the Tate Modern in London at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, where he remained until May 13, before being exposed to the Centre Pompidou Paris. The Wall Street Journal reported that the works of Richter were the most sold last year in the contemporary art world and has tried to explain why.
In 2011, Richter’s works were sold at auctions around the world for a total of $ 200 million (152 million euros), according to the company specializes Artnet, exceeding the figures that, in the same year, were sold works by Claude Monet, Alberto Giacometti and Mark Rothko put together. The famous London auction house Sotheby’s sold last November, a painting by Richter in 1997, “Abstract Painting”, for 20.8 million dollars. As the WSJ notes, other living artists such as Jeff Koons 57enne, individual works sell at higher prices, but the total volume of works by Richter has largely increased.
Richter has created paintings about three thousand, less than half of the eight thousand of Andy Warhol, but many of the most complete production of Salvador Dali, who painted about 1,200. About 40 percent of his works are owned by museums, and each year about two hundred are auctioned.
In his long career, Richter has ranged widely between artistic genres and compositional techniques. He was born in East Germany, where he began his career following the socialist realism imposed by the regime, but in 1961 fled with his first wife in Germany. In 1972 he had become famous enough to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. Sonic Youth put on the cover of their album Daydream Nation, in 1987, a panel of four years before Richter, Kerzle (“candle”), but the WSJ writes that the real “turning point” of his career came in 1995, when the famous Museum of Modern Art in New York bought it for $ 3 million in its series of 15 paintings: from then on began to be increasingly in demand by U.S. collectors.
Among the works of Richter’s most popular and sought after by collectors are the large abstract paintings painted in the late eighties, and as the WSJ says “all have the visual impact of a work by Francis Bacon and Rothko, artists who have had a spike in prices before the recession. ” These works also have the desirable feature, for collectors, to be easily recognizable which makes them “easy status symbol.”
The increase in prices, says the WSJ, depends on several factors, not all easily identifiable. This is partly motivated by the demands of the market, but by their auction houses and museums work hard to find “new masters of canonizing”. Richter seems to have some characteristics that play in his favor in the contemporary art market: he has painted in many different styles, from very abstract paintings to portraits of great realism and very prolific. Contemporary art is then in a moment of passage last year died two famous artists Cy Twombly and Lucian Freud, and collectors and industry experts are looking for other great names in contemporary art that can take place.