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Das Mißverständnis [The Misunderstanding], 2003

Daniel Richter
German, 1962
oil on canvas
270 x 230 cm
Purchased 2013
National Gallery of Canada (no. 45887)
© Ken Lum

“I am interested in more of a hysterical, paranoid view of the world,” says Daniel Richter, whose paintings are recognized for their evocative figures, often of conflicting scales, and vivid, saturated applications of colour. Issues of contemporary geopolitics and conflict are represented through allegorical references to the history of art. Here, a grey concrete cityscape sprawls under tumultuous skies, evoking an urban world on the brink of destruction. A tense, expectant atmosphere permeates the scene in which several figures in bright costumes approach birds perched in a tree that they mistake to be a threat. However, explains Richter, “the people do not see the cat. The cat is out to kill the birds, and he smiles knowingly at us. This is our drama. It’s called Das Mißverständnis.”

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