German group keeps Richter at top of list of most significant artists 

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Sothebys staff view a colour painting titled 192 Farben by artist Gerhard Richter. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Sales Frieze Week, London, UK. Credit line: Ray Tang/LNP / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

A German association has rated visual artist Gerhard Richter as the world’s most significant artist, marking the 19th consecutive year that he has been placed at the top of its ranking. 

The association, called Kunstkompass which translates as “art compass,” was established in 1970. Its annual listing of 10 artists is compiled each year by the art journalist Linde Rohr-Bongard and is published in Capital magazine. 

Richter’s art ranges from abstract and photorealist paintings to glass works and photography. 

Half of the artists ranked are German. At 90, Richter is the most senior on this year’s list. 

Alongside Richter, the artists ranked second through fifth also remained unchanged from last year.

Linde’s selection is made after consideration of 30,000 artists and is based on a points system that includes reviews, leading museum purchases, exhibitions and awards. The system does not take sales prices and auction proceeds into account. 

Richter remains top of the list thanks to his considerable lead in points, Rohr-Bongard said. 

His “Colours” was sold at a London auction last week for more than €20 million ($19.5 million). 

A Stars of Tomorrow list is also due to be published in the coming spring, separately from the other rankings, at the ArtBasel fair, Rohr-Bongard told dpa on Thursday. She hopes that this format will draw more attention to newcomers. 

Rohr-Bongard says the art market has been thriving recently since a lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic. ©dpa

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