Spanning nearly five decades, and coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday, Gerhard Richter: Panorama is a major chronological retrospective that groups together significant moments of this remarkable painter’s career. It includes portraits based on photographs such as the famous Betty 1988, abstractions, subtle landscapes, colour charts, works on paper, mirrors and three important glass constructions.
Gerhard Richter was one of the first German artists to reflect on the history of National Socialism, creating paintings of family members who had been members, as well as victims of, the Nazis, as well as canvases reminiscent of images of the bombing of Dresden. In 1988 he produced the 15-part work October 18 1977, a sequence of black and white paintings based on images of the Baader Meinhof group. Richter has continued to respond to significant moments in history; the final room of the exhibition includes September 2005, a painting of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.
Alongside works responding to historical events, the show presents many of Richter’s most ambitious abstract paintings from his 1974 colour chart containing 4096 different coloured squares, to his 20-metre long Stroke of 1980, presented for the first time outside Germany, to the magisterial and richly coloured Forest squeegee paintings of 1990, and culminating in the hauntingly beautiful six-part series Cage from 2006 on long loan to Tate. Gerhard Richter: Panorama is curated by Tate Director Nicholas Serota and Mark Godfrey.