Apollo Magazine

Rooting around in Richter’s rubbish

A man has been fined for stealing from Gerhard Richter’s recycling bin. Honest, officer, I was trying to clear the paper off the street!

A recycling bin in Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Gerhard Richter, it turns out, is a stickler for recycling – although he would be forgiven for having recently slackened off. Last week, an administrative court in Cologne levied a fine of €3,150 on a man for stealing sketches from the artist’s recycling bin and attempting to sell them at auction.

The defendant protests his innocence, claiming to have discovered the works after the bin was knocked over in a storm and having set himself to pick up loose pieces of paper off the street. On finding the four unsigned, overpainted photographs, he said he had attempted to return them to the artist but received no response, which instead led him to try to flog them through a Munich auction house. Richter himself is said to have found the incident ‘annoying’ and intends to destroy the pictures – properly this time, no doubt.

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