In the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the painting Lilies by Gerhard Richter is definitely on our must-see list! This painting, made in 2000, is an example of Richter's iconic blurring technique that he employed in a wide range of subject matter, including buildings, animals, and portraiture throughout his career.
From a young age, Gerhard was interested in using photography to aid his paintings. In 1945 he received his first camera, and 1964 he began using a projector in his painting practice. Lilies, specifically, is an interesting combination of two painting traditions, the still life and the photographic reference.
"I blur things to make everything equally important and equally unimportant. I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information."
- Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961-2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p.33
The issue of photographic reference is still a topic of discussion in contemporary painting, which makes Richter a valuable resource for painters trying to integrate photography and painting within their own practice.