Comprising some 140 works, the exhibition covers all the media Richter has used to create his landscapes, from painting, drawing, printmaking and photography to sculptures and artist’s books.

Familiar and novel insights


CHF 23.–/18.– (concessions and groups)
Free admission for members and children and young people under the age of 17. Tip : Senior (AHV) discounts every Wednesday


Note for groups

We look forward to welcoming you to the Kunsthaus. For organizational reasons, prior registration is required., +41 44 253 84 84

The Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich celebrates one of the most important contemporary German artists. It is the first solo presentation of his work at the Kunsthaus and is devoted to a key genre within his oeuvre: landscape painting. On display are 140 works, most of which are being shown for the first time in Switzerland or have not been seen in public for decades; they include ‘Townscape PX’ (1968), spectacular ‘Seascapes’ from Berlin and Bilbao, and the energy-laden ‘Jungle Picture’ (1971) from a private collection. In addition to 80 paintings, there are drawings, photo collages, overpainted photographs, prints and artist’s books. Extending over 1,200m2, the exhibition guides visitors through Richter’s creative process from 1957 to 2018.

Second-hand Landscapes

From the outset, Richter views the landscape through a medium of mechanical reproduction: photography. The photos that form the basis for his pictures are mostly ones that he has taken himself, and he uses them to create not painted landscapes, but paintings of photographed landscapes. The specifically photographic aesthetic that informs the composition, structure and colour palette remains clearly visible, as in the oil painting ëHouse in Forestí (2004), with its view of the staff building at the famous hotel in Sils Maria. Thus begins his critical reflection on the lost potential of painting.

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Gerhard Richter, Abstract Landscape, 1969, Private collection Munich © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Townscape PX, 1968, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München, Wittelsbacher Ausgleichfonds – Sammlung Prinz Franz von Bayern, 1984; Artothek / photo: Blauel / Gnamm © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Ice, 1981, Collection Ruth McLoughlin, Monaco © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Abstrace Painting, 1987, Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung im Sprengel Museum Hannover; photo: bpk / Sprengel Museum Hannover / Aline Herling / Michael Herling / Benedikt Werner © Gerhard Richter
Richter_Ohne-Titel (Febr. 92)_1992.jpg
Gerhard Richter, Untitled (Febr. 92), 1992, Private collection; photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
Richter_St. Moritz_1992.jpg
Gerhard Richter, St. Moritz, 1992, Private collection Switzerland © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Jungle Picture, 1971, Private collection, Courtesy Ceylan Ecer; photo: Courtesy Sotheby‘s © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Piz Surlej, Piz Corvatsch, 1992, Collection Peter and Elisabeth Bloch; photo: Christoph Schelbert, Olten © Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter, Seascape (Sea-Sea), 1970, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie; photo: bpk / Nationalgalerie, SMB / Jörg P. Anders © Gerhard Richter

Public guided tours

Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. (in German)

Private guided tour

Group size: max. 20
Languages: German, English, French, Italian,
Cost: admission to the exhibition (group rate) + CHF 190.– (German) / CHF 220.– (other languages), duration: 1 hour

Landscapes in abstraction

In the 1960s and 1970s especially, Richter produced highly abstract images of mountains, parks and cities that, through painting, further explore the potential of an abstraction that has its origins in photography. These works alternate between landscape motifs depicted as reproductions of originals and a self-referential materiality of colour expressed through broad brushstrokes. This dualistic principle does not aim at a classical abstraction in which the form becomes autonomous, but rather asks to what extent the form can achieve autonomy from a basis in photographs. Measuring 250 x 680 cm, the two-part work ‘St. Gallen’ (1989) pushes abstraction so far that even locals are unable to recognize any topographic or architectural features of their city.

Landscapes as fictional constructions

In the 1970s and 1990s, Richter also produced landscapes in the form of fictional constructions. Working in oil painting, printing, photo collages and three-dimensionality, he creates landscapes and monumental spaces that can never exist in reality but are highly suggestive. The motifs of seas, mountains and clouds have been put together in such a way that their size or arrangement transcends any real experience.

Overpainted Landscapes

From 1965 onwards, Richter produces non-representational overpaintings using oils, employing a wide range of often strongly corporeal techniques including peeling, scraping, smearing and squeegeeing. The photograph of a landscape conveys a representational motif by means of reproduction, while at the same time paint is applied to the surface in such a way as to produce abstraction. These two levels of reality – including titles devoid of locational information such as ‘10. Apr. 2015’ (2015) – appear as an interlocked unity, forging a bond that is close and replete with tension, yet at the same time subtle.

« Such works show my 'longing', they are a 'dream of classical order and an unspoilt world.' » — Gerhard Richter, 1981

Landscapes in uneasy times

Our appreciation of landscapes and their aesthetic quality increases with the onset of industrialization and the emergence of tourism in the 19th century; and they come to be increasingly valued as they are devastated by wars and environmental disasters. The contemplation of both art and landscapes evokes strong feelings. The year 2021 is set to be dominated by the corona crisis, the most tangible consequences of which, at a personal level, are physical distancing and drastic limitations on mobility. Scheduling the exhibition at this time offers a glimmer of hope. A visit to the Kunsthaus Zürich is a clear reminder of the value of sensory experiences in the shared social process of reception, especially when they become surfaces onto which longings are projected, as is the case with Gerhard Richter’s landscapes.

In association with the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien.
Curated by Hubertus Butin (Berlin) and Cathérine Hug (Kunsthaus Zürich)

Image: Gerhard Richter, Townscape F, 1968, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Dauerleihgabe der Deutschen Bundesbank; photo: Wolfganz Günzel


A 'Gerhard Richter' for your home?

Newly edited art prints in high quality and limited edition, exclusively and exceptionally authorised for the Kunsthaus Zürich. From CHF 150.- and the print 'Blattecke' (1967/2020) in a limited edition of 30 copies for CHF 4'900.-. Both were exceptionally and exclusively authorised by Gerhard Richter for the Kunsthaus Zürich. Available in the Kunsthaus shop and online.

Member benefit: 10% discount on taylored framing at 'Art Poster Gallery' at Stadelhofen station upon presentation of the member ID.

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