The Grand Opening

Hurray, hurray.
Today, today. I opened a bar.

Hurray, hurray.
Today, today. I opened a bar.

Peter Dreher, Tag um Tag guter Tag, starting 1974, oil on canvas, each 25 x 20 cm

Over the last forty-four years Peter Dreher created a series of roughly five thousand works, depicting the very same glass again and again. Starting in the 1970s, when realist painting was a provocation in itself, Dreher (b. 1932 in Germany) concentrated on the most basic of things: “I imposed this apparent restriction on myself in order to focus all my energy on what is really essential and important to me: painting,” he said. That everything becomes abstract, if we look closely enough, is just one of the many things we can learn from Dreher in his pursuit of art for art’s sake: repetition is used as a philosophical concept and a means of liberation. Here, musician Sophie Hunger salutes Dreher with an excerpt from her song “I Opened a Bar” (2018), in which she recounts for whom she once hypothetically opened a bar.

These lyrics are an extract from the song “I Opened a Bar” by Sophie Hunger (Molecules, 2018).




Peter Dreher (1932–2020) studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts at Karlsruhe from 1950 to 1956 and was Professor of Painting at the State Academy, Karlsruhe, from 1968 to 1997.

Dreher is most remembered for his dedication to painting the same subject for years at a time, with crystalline realism, each example with barely perceptible variations. In DAY BY DAY, GOOD DAY (Tag um Tag, guter Tag), created between 1974 and 2014, Dreher painted over 5,000 works of the same motif – a simple water glass on a table in the artist’s studio in the Black Forest. Far from a merely conceptual exercise, returning to the same subject, again and aga...
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