© David Pinzer

The new volume of the catalog raisonné by Gerhard Richter – Dr. Dietmar Elger in conversation

19. May 2022
Emma Nilsson


Volume VI is officially the last volume of the catalogue raisonné of Gerhard Richter’s paintings and sculptures. Does this mean that Richter will not be making any more paintings? 

That, at any rate, what he has said himself. In an interview with dpa, he stated that his painterly oeuvre was completed with work number 957.


Which additions or corrections to painting details will be listed in Volume VII? 

There are a few works to which Gerhard Richter only assigned a number afterwards because they were still considered lost at the time of the publication of the relevant volume. This information will be added. Then there are some illustrations that have been reproduced in the wrong orientation or cropped incorrectly. This will be corrected and also indicated in the appendix.


Will you now turn your attention to other areas of his oeuvre to catalogue them? His overpainted photographs or watercolours, for example? 

Yes, we would like to publish the catalogue raisonné of the watercolours and have already started the preliminary work.


Which of the six volumes is the bestseller? 

The volumes are published two years apart. The longer they have been on sale, the more copies have been sold, so Volume I has sold the most copies. It was published in 2011.


The Gerhard Richter website maintained in London is not always accurate or up to date. Is the Gerhard Richter Archive considering installing its own website? 

There are such considerations, but they are still very vague.


A catalogue raisonné, especially if it contains the latest information on provenance, is never completely finished. Will there be supplementary volumes with updates at regular intervals? 

No, such a thing is not technically and financially feasible. At the moment, if you are interested you can ask us for an update on individual works. We keep the information up to date.


One expects “final, irrefutably correct information” from a catalogue raisonné, is that so, and is that possible at all? 

At least that is the aspiration but it can never be completely met. However, it should at least apply to the decision about authentic and non-authentic works.


The sixth volume begins with the Cologne Cathedral Window in 2007 and covers Richter’s work until 2019. Is there a development in his work during this decade that became particularly noticeable to you during your research work? You certainly know the vast majority of works from the process of creation but a chronological review may highlight some aspects in particular. 

In these 12 years, two new, extensive groups of works by Gerhard Richter emerged: the behind-glass paintings and the STRIPS. This is definitely the special feature of this sixth, concluding volume.


What role does the catalogue raisonné play for Gerhard Richter himself and how is he involved in the successive volumes? 

Richter works constantly with the catalogue raisonné. Above all, however, with the 1993 version and the 2005 edition, which contain all the works in 1:50 format. He has added to this version of the catalogue raisonné by hand to this day. Our Volume VII aims to present such a version as a printed edition for the oeuvre from 1962 to 2019. We also intend to provide an up-to-date biography, exhibition and literature list in Volume VII.