Richter created his first Photo Painting in 1962, but it was in 1963, the year Düsenjägerwas painted, that he began to see himself as a Pop artist.
"For the first time in Germany, we are showing paintings for which such terms as Pop Art, Junk Culture, Imperialist or Capitalist Realism, New Objectivity, Naturalism, German Pop and the like are appropriate. Pop Art recognizes the modern mass media as a genuine cultural phenomenon and turns their attributes, formulations and content, through artifice, into art. It thus fundamentally changes the face of modern painting and inaugurates an aesthetic revolution. Pop Art has rendered conventional painting - with all its sterility, its isolation, its artificiality, its taboos and its rules - entirely obsolete." (Richter, "Letter to a newsreel company," April 29, 1963, quoted in Gerhard Richter: The Daily Practice of Painting. Writings and Interviews 1962-1993, ed. Hans-Ulrich Obrist, London, 1995, p. 16).
Richter created his first Photo Painting in 1962, but it was in 1963, the year Düsenjägerwas painted, that he began to see himself as a Pop artist, having read about the American movement in Art International. Richter had been struck in particular by Roy Lichtenstein’s parallel exploration of means and themes similar to his own. Lichtenstein’s own crisp, media-based images dated from only the year before Richter’s Photo Paintings. Under the wide canopy of the Pop Art umbrella, many of Richter’s American contemporaries took source material from the emphatically dynamic worlds of comic books and advertising, creating works that often appeared as brash and colourful celebrations of consumer society. Looking at Lichtenstein’s WHAAM!, also from 1963 (Tate, London), there is a palpable sense of excitement, drama, even glamour. It is as though Lichtenstein was channelling the spirit of comic strips, or movies like the John Wayne vehicle, Jet Pilot, produced by Howard Hughes a decade earlier. Similarly, Jim Rosenquist fetishised technology in his billboard-like compositions.
GERHARD RICHTER, Dϋsenjäger, signed, titled, inscribed and dated "DÜSENJÄGER (WV-Nr. 13a) Richter 1963" on the reverse. Oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 78 3/4 in. (130 x 200 cm.). Painted in 1963. Estimate $25,000,000 - 35,000,000.
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