Edinburgh shows span Richter, reveal Caravaggio

Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:35pm EST
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By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - A major exhibition of the works of Germany's Gerhard Richter, regarded as one of the most influential living artists, has opened in Edinburgh, providing a dramatic overview of his art over the past 45 years.

John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, describes Richter as "arguably the most important and influential contemporary artist alive today."

The exhibition at the National Gallery complex in the center of the Scottish capital runs through to January 4.

Over 60 works from five private collections cover virtually every period of Richter's career.

They include the black-and-white photo-based works, which gained him the label of "German Pop Artist" at a time when Andy Warhol was a dominant Pop Art influence in the United States, to what the gallery describes as Richter's "magisterial, sensuously colored abstracts of the 1990s and beyond."

Another exhibition of Richter's work, 4900 Colors: Version II, is about to end a two-month run at London's Serpentine Gallery, while London's National Portrait Gallery will host a showing of Gerhard Richter Portraits from February 26 to May 31 next year.

Born in Dresden in 1932, Richter was brought up in the Nazi era and then Communist East Germany where he started his career. He moved to West Germany in the early 1960 and held his first exhibition in 1962.

The curator of the Edinburgh exhibition, Keith Hartley, believes Richter is a great artist because he has made painting vital and relevant again.   Continued...

<p>A gallery attendant poses for photographers as he stands next to the "The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew" painting by Caravaggio (L), during a photocall for the forthcoming "The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection" exhibition at The Queens Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland November 12, 2008. REUTERS/David Moir</p>