© Gerhard Richter

Reference URL

Untitled 1985

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
After he moved to West from East Germany in 1961, until the early 1970s, Richter painted almost exclusively in a figurative style. From that time until the present, he has concentrated most (but by no means all) of his energies on exploring the possibilities of abstract painting. Paintings such as ‘Untitled’ 1985 look superficially like the informal abstractions of the 1950s but in fact owe more to the chance effects of scraping and smudging paint than to exquisite aesthetic decisions as to what mark and paint colour to put next to another. For Richter, abstract paintings have to look natural, and part of another reality, rather than an anguished personal expression.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.

Figurative art

A general term for art that refers to the real, visible world, used more specifically for the representation of the human figure.

Abstract art, Figurative art


  • Acc. No. AR00346
  • Medium Oil paint on paper
  • Size 59.20 x 85.30 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008