German visual artist Gerhard Richter Creative Work:

The new church windows of Tholey Abbey in Saarland have sparked interest worldwide. The designs come from the world-famous painter German visual artist Gerhard Richter. He wants to round off his great work.

It is probably the last great work of the world-famous painter Gerhard Richter (88): three colourful, shimmering church windows, each almost ten meters high, were shown for the first time on Thursday in the church of the Tholey monastery in Saarland.

In his own words, Richter wants to close the list of his main works with the glass play of shapes and colours.

The windows are certainly his "last work number", he said earlier. He does not believe that he will make large paintings later.

"We are very happy about the incredible gift we received from Gerhard Richter," said Abbot Mauritius Choriol in front of the windows in the Gothic abbey church of the Benedictines.

"That's fantastic. "The large choir windows have been installed since the beginning of August - work was finished on Wednesday.

"The Incredible Light We Get From God":

"For us, the windows stand for the incredible light that we get from God: We cannot understand it, but we are always discovering new things and are amazed," said the abbot.

Richter has just announced that the windows will be his last work number. "The importance for Tholey Abbey is all the greater," said the managing director of St. Mauritius Tholey GmbH, Thorsten Klein.

Richter developed the 1.95 by 9.30-meter works based on an abstract image by repeatedly dividing and mirroring them.

The motifs come from his artist book "Patterns" - red and blue dominate the outer windows, yellow in the middle.

Like a kaleidoscope, they invite the viewer to make associations and offer plenty of space for the imagination.

Richter is one of the most expensive living artists: an early painting by him recently fetched more than two million euros at auction.

Other works by the Dresden native were auctioned in 2013 and 2014 for 20 to 30 million euros each. But he gave his art to the monks.

The abbot speaks of a "huge gift: it is the highest that we had not hoped for."

Concert organist has long been a fan of Richter:

The connection came about through the Saarbrücken concert organist Bernhard Leonardy, who had been a fan of Richter's art for a long time and asked him for Tholey in the summer of 2018.

When the call came, he was "playing with these patterns," said Richter. That was a "nice coincidence". The artist from Cologne did not come to present the windows.

But one day he will look at the works if his health allows it, he recently told the German Press Agency. Richter is one of the most important contemporary artists worldwide.

The designs were implemented by the Gustav van Treeck glass workshops in Munich. The production of the windows was a "complex and ingenious job", said the managing director of the glass factory, Katja Zukic.

The core of every window is a glass that is printed in colour with a graphic structure, hand-painted several times with special paint and then fired in the oven at 620 degrees. In front of and behind it, red and blue hand-blown flashed glass panes were glued.

"The windows should stimulate dialogue":

"The windows should speak, they should stimulate dialogue," said Abbot Choral. Just like the abbey church: there should be "opportunities for encounters in God's house" - also through art and "the great new church windows".

According to a report by the Tholey municipality before the corona pandemic, 100,000 visitors were expected in the first year.

After two years of renovation, the abbey church will reopen this Saturday with a week of festivities of concerts and church services.

Tholey is said to be the oldest monastery in Germany with its first documentary mention in 634. Today twelve monks from five nations between the ages of 24 and 75 live in the only abbey in Saarland.


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