Grey, “the ideal colour “, according to Gerhard Richter. Artists have always been drawn to a world devoid of colour. By concentrating on black and white they encourage the viewer to take a fresh perspective on existing patterns of perception and artistic modes of presentation. Comprising around 80 works spanning a period of 700 years – painting, glass painting, photography, prints and drawings – the exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the special fascination exerted by black-and-white painting. Ranging from medieval grisaille works to Ólafur Elíasson’s light installation “Room for one colour”, the exhibition explores the question of the visual power of the reduced colour palette.
Among the show’s highlights are the black-and-white version of the famous female nude “Odalisque in Grisaille” by Ingres, as well as the only known grisaille painting by Degas, “Ballet Rehearsal on Stage”. Further high-calibre loans include works by Mantegna, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Picasso, Pollock, Giacometti, Chuck Close, Bridget Riley and Gerhard Richter, as well as by Zero artists such as Piene, Mack and Uecker. A particular highlight is the walk-in room installation “The Collector’s House” by the Belgian artist Hans op de Beeck.
The exhibition is organised by the National Gallery, London, in collaboration with Museum Kunstpalast.