Years pass. Germany is a major challenge of the Cold War. Richter leaves to the west in 1961, two months before the build of the Berlin Wall. With his friends in the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf he wants a new art that expresses their time with no legacy from the pictorial styles of the past. These students conceive the Capitalist Realism. What a program !
Richter believes that truth lays in photography because a photo catches a moment. The message is stronger if the image is poor. When copying these banalities in oil on large canvases, he maintains the grisaille or the poor color of the original view. He blurs the lines during the completion phase of his artwork in order that no detail shall disturb the overall effect.
He executes two paintings on the theme of military aviation in 1963. Bomber shows a US squadron dropping bombs during the Second World War. Düsenjäger, meaning jet fighter, displays the first military aircraft authorized in the Federal Republic with NATO support.
Düsenjäger is huge. The jet is in flight over any horizon. The blur gives an illusion of speed and the colors are ugly. The original photo was poor. The front of the aircraft is already out of the frame : it was going too fast.
The artist has often commented about his art. He does not want to be a politician or an anti-militarist. The juxtaposition of Bomber and Düsenjäger provides nevertheless a strong message. Düsenjäger is certainly necessary for the military balance. This terrifying machine demonstrates however that no political progress was made after the Second World War : in 1963 everybody waits for the international conflict that will follow the Cold War. Bomber and Düsenjäger are the Guernica of Gerhard Richter.
Düsenjäger, oil on canvas 130 x 200 cm, was sold for $ 11.2 million including premium by Christie's on 13 November 2007. It is estimated $ 25M for sale by Phillips in New York on November 16, lot 7.
SOLD for $ 25.6M including premium