Christie’s hosts ‘Monet / Richter’ selling exhibition

Claude Monet, ‘Les bords de la Seine près de vetheuil,’ oil on canvas, / Gerhard Richter, ‘Zwei Bäume’ (Two Trees), oil on Canvas, 1987. Christie’s image

NEW YORK – Christie’s will host “Monet / Richter,” a virtual selling exhibition celebrating the talents of the two groundbreaking artists that will be presented both online on Dec. 20, and in person with select highlights. Visit the private sale viewing room here.

The exhibition will address the visual dialogue between the work of Claude Monet and Gerhard Richter with juxtaposed canvases that pose a fundamental challenge to the distinction between abstraction and representation. Alongside the works on view in-person, the full exhibition may be viewed in an immersive digital experience.

David Kleiweg de Zwaan, Head of Private Sales, Impressionist and Modern Art, Americas, remarked: “This is an exciting endeavor that strives to provide a discourse between the work of two pioneering artists, and we are grateful to the collecting community for contributing to this project. The objective of “Monet/Richter” is to position ethereal canvasses – by both artists – within thought provoking juxtapositions, summoning questions about the basis of abstraction and figuration. In doing so, the exhibition recontextualizes Monet’s oeuvre, and particularly the later Nympheas paintings. With their shallow depth of field, luminous color and dematerialized form, Monet dissolved the traditional distinctions between figure and ground to make the canvas an arena for pure chromatic and gestural expression. This is a profound innovation echoed in Richter’s masterful abstract canvasses.”

Alessandro Diotallevi, Director of Private Sales, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Americas, continued: “This exhibition is a visual journey into the works of two of art history’s greatest painters. It will underscore the artistic singularity achieved by both Monet and Richter, while pointing to the harmony between their work. As a whole, Monet/Richter demonstrates how timeless – and yet contemporary – the works of both artists are.”

Christie’s ‘Monet / Richter’ exhibition juxtaposes the painters’ artworks. Christie’s image

Working a century apart, Claude Monet and Gerhard Richter both redefined painting for their respective eras. The great French Impressionist, rejected by the conservative Académie des Beaux-Arts in the 1860s, sought to express his perceptions before nature as truly and immediately as possible. Thinking in terms of light, color and shape rather than figurative form, he said, “I like to paint as a bird sings.” He freed himself from convention, and, in his monumental late works, paved the way for the Abstract Expressionists’ vision of painting as surface, creating luminous arenas of shimmering light and color.

Richter, working since the 1960s, has pursued arguably the most profound enquiry into the nature and purpose of painting in the postwar era. Working in dialogue with genres as diverse as Pop art, photography, and landscape painting, his frequent cynicism is balanced by an enduring belief in art as a force for hope. Taking up Monet’s mantle, he has posed a fundamental challenge to the distinction between abstraction and representation. Today, he is recognized as one of the greatest artists of his generation: a conceptualist and colorist in equal measure, who breathed new life into painting at a critical moment in its history.