The importance of Arnulf Rainer for the painting of the second half of 20th century became clear early on with his radical overpaintings and crucifixions from the mid-fifties onwards. His work subsequently moves between the poles of the his ‘painted over’ works that approach monochromism, contemplative solutions, and an expressiveness carried by great intensity. His ability to draw from the source of these early developed polar forms of expression, to evolve them and reuse them for other subjects, remains characteristic of Arnulf Rainer. This prevented his work from becoming flat, lending it its richness and excitement throughout. Many later works, such as the group of canary images, are like a synthesis of spontaneous, expressive drawing and the transparent veil of colour that evolved from his early ‘painted over’ works. Arnulf Rainer likes to work in groups, variations; the single image is never a variation on the previous one, and always a stand-alone individual formulation.
Two catalogues on Arnulf Rainer appeared in the Edition Dittmar, which presented various groups of his works. The publication on the Caspar David Friedrich paintings also contains an extensive annotated biography. A selection from this cycle was exhibited in a cabinet exhibition in the Old National Gallery in Berlin.