Betty – (Gerhard Richter) Previous Next


Date: 1988

The image of ‘Betty’ is that of the artist, Gerard Richter’s, own daughter. It’s based on a photograph of hers that was taken when she was 11-years-old, 10 years prior to the making of this painting. It’s present in the Saint Louis Art Museum. Richer was born in 1932, and brought up in Dresden. He gained his education in East Germany but by 1961, he fled to Düsseldorf. This was West Germany where everything was different. When he was growing up, he was mainly exposed to Communist propaganda and right-wing fundamentalism. By 1961, Düsseldorf was carrying the baton of late-capitalism, blooming with western influences with regards to fashion, art and culture. Richter questioned everything with his skepticism and believed a particular style was “violent”, in a way where it forcibly restricts expression. Thus, he dabbled a little bit in everything and believed in expressing intimacy non-politically. ‘Betty’ invariably stands to exemplify that virtue. It’s also popularly inferred that his daughter in the photograph was turning her head away to look at a monochromatic work by Richter himself.



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