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Works of most expensive living artist Richter presented in Prague

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Prague, April 22 (CTK) – The exhibition of Gerhard Richter, the most expensive living artist, will open in the National Gallery in Prague on Wednesday, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Saturday.

Pictures worth billions of crowns will be presented next week, which is something unprecedented in Czech history after the 1989 fall of the country’s communist regime. Czech art lovers have been used to travel to London’s Tate Gallery, Vienna’s Albertina or Paris to see such retrospective exhibitions, the paper says.

National Gallery director Jiri Fajt has been trying to organise Richter’s exhibition since 2014. The negotiations lasted two years. About 80 pictures from Germany, Britain, France, Denmark and Austria will be shown in Prague. Richter, 85, is to arrive in Prague from Cologne, Germany, on Sunday.

In the past six months, Richter’s works worth more than five billion crowns were sold at world’s auctions.

The highest price paid for his work was nearly one billion crowns, for his Abstract Painting (599) sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London in February 2015.

The Prague exhibition will include Iceberg, which was sold for an equivalent of 550 million crowns in London in March 2017, becoming the most expensive landscape painting in the world, the paper writes.

Czech art historian Tomas Pospiszyl said Richter came with a new attitude in painting and returned certain type of contents to it.

Richter, who fled from East Germany to West Germany in 1961, deals with the Nazi past of his homeland and his own family, with World War Two, Holocaust, the Red Army Faction terrorist group and the developments related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Lidice Memorial, a museum dedicated to Czech victims of Nazism, received the painting Uncle Rudi from Richter. This painting shows Richter’s uncle in his Nazi uniform and it looks like a photo from a family album.

Richter’s uncle was a soldier fighting with the Wehrmacht, while his aunt suffering from schizophrenia was killed in a mental clinic within the Nazi euthanasia programme during the war, LN writes.

The Prague exhibition is to cost 30-50 million crowns, with insurance being responsible for up to half of the sum. Most of the costs have been covered by the gallery’s partners and sponsors. The German government contributed with six million crowns through the Goethe Institute and the German Embassy in Prague – the exhibition is part of the Czech-German Culture Spring 2017 project.

Richter’s works are likely to become a similar tourist attraction as is the present exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Prague’s Trade Fair Palace.

Richter did not like the Trade Fair Palace, which was originally proposed to him for the exhibition, because the space seemed too modernist to him. Finally, the Kinski Palace was agreed on, in which the works of Henri Rousseau were recently shown.

($1=25.179 crowns)

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