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Lilies, 2000

Gerhard Richter
German, 1932
oil on canvas
68 x 80 x 3.1 cm
Purchased 2002
National Gallery of Canada (no. 40967)
© Courtesy of Gerhard Richter and The Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Gerhard Richter is renowned for his highly-realistic paintings in the traditional genres of landscape, still life, "vanitas" and portraiture, which he blurs by dragging a large brush or squeegee over the painted surface. He thus disrupts the figurative quality of the image, drawing attention to the painted surface and the act of painting as a form of representation. In his still-life painting "Lilies", Richter depicts a bouquet of white candidum lilies, commonly included in scenes of the Annunciation as a symbol for the purity of the Virgin Mother. With the deployment of his signature streaking technique, the image of the lilies verges on abstraction. For Richter, the beauty and power of the image are paramount, and the lily has become a significant emblem in many of his works.

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