Gerhard Richter
Stadtbild Madrid (Cityscape Madrid), 1968

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Stadtbild Madrid (Cityscape Madrid)
Artist name
Gerhard Richter
Date created
oil on linen
109 in. × 115 in. (276.86 cm × 292.1 cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© Gerhard Richter
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 6 as part of German Art After 1960

Audio Stories

Is this city rebuilt or in ruins?

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SFX: Thin, slightly fractured music that seems on the verge of disintegrating altogether. Maybe Schnittke? 



This painting looks like a cityscape, but is it perhaps the ruins of a city? Curator Rachel Jans.  


SFX: The subtle but ominous groaning of a building that’s shifting on its foundations. A wind– as if we’re on a high ledge looking down over this cityscape. Music under. 



Instability or uncertainty is a continual theme throughout his work. But it’s always paired with its opposite, its other side. You know, we see that in Cityscape Madrid, which appears to fall apart when you step forward. And if you step away, it resolves into a more stable picture of a city. 


SFX: The building groans. The music builds, and then resolves for a moment. 



For Richter and for his peers there was a certain distrust of this kind of stability that was emerging in West Germany, precisely because they had recently experienced so much devastation, not just from WWII but also with the division of Germany and the Cold War – and the way that separated families and created two worlds side by side. East Germany and West Germany.  


SFX: The music totally falls apart, trailing off in disparate fragments. 

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Other Works by Gerhard Richter

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