Gerhard Richter

One of the most important painters of our times

As any Richter historian will tell you: trying to pinpoint a sense of style to the artist’s work is a task doomed to failure. For the past six decades Richter has famously moved relentlessly between abstraction and figuration, from gloomy monochrome to bright experimentation in colour. The uniting factor, Richter’s subject, if you like, being painting itself. Given his refusal to a ‘signature’ aesthetic, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the painter has no truck with the ‘cult of personality’ he believes to now surround contemporary artists. ‘It’s a frightening development,’ he bemoaned to Die Zeit this year. Other than the usual dizzying sales – Liu Yiqian posted a picture on WeChat of the 11m-long stripe painting he bought from Marian Goodman, Eric Clapton is selling a Richter valued at $20m – it’s been a relatively quiet year for Richter: just the one museum show and a trio of gallery exhibitions (including at Goodman’s New York space in May). But his influence on painting globally remains big.