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Gerhard Richter

Richter in London

Invited by Serota

In what may be interpreted as a shift in exhibitions policy, the Tate Gallery appears to have suspended its commitment to British artists of lesser rank in favour of a programme which reviews contemporary European masters of international stature. It is no secret that staff have been disappointed by thin attendances for, and the dull critical reaction to, recent exhibitions of Cecil Collins and William Coldstream, and believe that their energies could be more usefully directed towards prestigious foreign artists who have been poorly served by their museum in the years since the Marcel Broodthaers exhibition a decade ago. Their first target is Gerhard Richter, the leading German painter whom Nicholas Serota, the museum’s director, and curator Sean Rainbird, visited in Cologne in February. That visit resulted in agreement to mount a survey of Richter’s paintings at the Tate Gallery in the autumn. The exhibition, which opens on 30 October and runs to January 1992, will comprise some sixty works spanning the artist’s thirty year career. It will, therefore, be smaller that the retrospective curated by Juergen Harten and Hans-Werner Schmidt for Düsseldorf, Berlin, Bern and Vienna in 1986, and than the North American exhibition of 1988, but it will include paintings not shown on those occasions and will culminate in a substantial body of recent and new works.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 9 June 1991