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After he moved to West from East Germany in 1961, until the early 1970s, Richter painted almost exclusively in a figurative style. From that time until the present, he has concentrated most (but by no means all) of his energies on exploring the possibilities of abstract painting. Paintings such as ‘Untitled’ 1985 look superficially like the informal abstractions of the 1950s but in fact owe more to the chance effects of scraping and smudging paint than to exquisite aesthetic decisions as to what mark and paint colour to put next to another. For Richter, abstract paintings have to look natural, and part of another reality, rather than an anguished personal expression.