The Kerzen (candles) are a technical feat with the colorful transition of the halo between flame and abstraction. These vanities also match the metaphysical questions of the artist.
Is it a coincidence ? The highly spectacular skulls by Jean-Michel Basquiat are painted in the same year.
Twenty years earlier in Düsseldorf, Richter had received from a friend a model of human skull. He had not used it yet. In 1983 he photographed this artifact with top or down upside. He makes a small series of paintings while projecting the photographic image on the canvas. The blurring of outlines brings a transition to abstraction. The evanescent image floats somewhere between here and the beyond.
The first series of Schädel (skull) is made of four opus, 545-1 to 545-4, the latter entitled 'Schädel, abstrakt' confirming the desire of the artist to ensure the overall coherence of his work. 546-1 and -2 is a return to Kerzen, probably to maintain the knack. 547-1 shows the skull in the inverted position. In the same position, it is associated with a candle in 547-2.
The series of skulls is finished with 548-1 and -2, as if suddenly the artist had overcome a temporary anguish of death by integrating together the skull, the abstraction and the candle.
These Schädel are extremely rare on the art market. 545-3 was sold for $ 1.5M including premium by Christie's on May 16, 2000. 545-1, oil on canvas 80 x 65 cm, will be sold by Christie's in London on October 4, lot 11. The estimate at £ 12M to £ 18M is unveiled by Christie's in the Auction preview of September 6. Please watch the video shared by Christie's.