In 1986, Gerhard Richter’s first large-scale touring retrospective took place, marking a turning point in the artist’s career. That same year, he began using the squeegee as his central compositional tool. This device allowed him to create abstract and layered images by dragging paint across the canvas in multiple directions. Half of his Abstraktes Bild were finished in 1986, and only 24 of them are of this size (with a width greater than 380 cm).
Richter frequently paints detailed under-paintings for his later works that are built upon layers upon layers of paint to produce fantastic color effects that shift and blend until they resemble landscapes or atmospheric weather conditions. His Atlas collection inspired many of these paintings; Atlas is an archive containing photographs and other imagery that Richter has collected over the years.
Richter is viewed as one of Post-War Germany’s most important artists due to his immense artistic range, which he displayed by shifting between figurative and abstract painting styles from day to day with ease. Since 1976, Richter has dedicated himself exclusively to abstraction, creating systematic approaches to painting during this period. Clouds (1982) exemplifies Richter’s vacillation between realist and abstract styles while referencing an image from his Atlas collection.