Prized painter Richter calls art market "daft"

Tue Oct 4, 2011 9:26am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Gerhard Richter is one of the world's most prized living artists, and one of his famous "Candle" series is expected to fetch 6-9 million pounds ($9-14 million) at auction in London next week.

That is the highest price expected for a single work at the upcoming series of contemporary art sales, yet the man behind the image said he found such figures bewildering.

"It's just as absurd as the banking crisis," said the 79-year-old German, speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the press launch of a major retrospective of his work opening at London's Tate Modern.

"It's impossible to understand and it's daft," he added, speaking through an interpreter.

Asked how he thought the art market had changed in the last few years, he replied in English: "It became worse."

The show, "Gerhard Richter: Panorama," opens on October 6 and ends on January 8, 2012.

It coincides with the Frieze Art Fair being held in London next week which has become a magnet for art galleries and collectors from around the world.

As well as the fair itself, wealthy buyers can visit the auction house salerooms where prized works are on offer and a series of gallery openings and exhibitions around the city.   Continued...

<p>Employee Duncam Holden poses for a photograph with Gerhard Richter's artwork Abstract Painting Abstraktes Bild (CR:726) at the press launch of the new exhibition Gerhard Richter : Panorama at the Tate Modern gallery in London October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>