Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter
09.02.1932 (Dresden)

Nationality: German


The German painter Gerhard Richter is born in Dresden on February 9, 1932. He spends his childhood and youth in Waltersdorf in the Oberlausitz. He studies painting at the Dresden Art Academy from 1951 to 1956. In 1961, just a few months before the wall is built, Richter leaves the GDR and goes to Düsseldorf where he studies at the Art Academy from 1961 to 1963.

Gerhard Richter gets important stimuli for his own art when attending the "documenta" II in Kassel as early as in 1959, where mostly abstract post-war art is on exhibition. His own early work shows influences of informal art, the Fluxus movement as well as Pop-Art.

Gerhard Richter is friends with Sigmar Polke and Blinky Palermo during his study years in Düsseldorf. Richter, Polke and Konrad Fischer-Lueg organize an art happening called "Leben mit Pop - Eine Demonstration für den Kapitalistischen Realismus" (Life with Pop - A Demonstration for Capitalist Realism)in a Düsseldorf furniture store in 1963. In the frame of this event, Richter presents his "graue Fotobilder" (Grey Photographs) for the first time.

A characteristic feature of Richter's work is the fact that he, up until today, has always taken a deep look into art itself. His works cannot be regarded in categories of "-isms", it is difficult to ascribe them to a certain style, it is rather seen in terms of a stylistic incongruity, thus his oeuvre is extremely complex and diversified.

Gerhard Richter paints his pictures after photographs of any kind, which he then reproduces in manifold ways. They are recognizable, due to the realistic style, but they are also concealed or simply drawn over, so that the motif, its content, is obscured, such as in the series "Vermalungen" (Misdrawings).

The group of works called "Farbtafeln" (Color Plates) is made as of 1966, for which Gerhard Richter sets various colors side by side, after the model of the Natural Color System. Gerhard Richter works on the "Grauen Bildern" (Grey Pictures) from 1967 to 1975. He recurrently turns to single motifs, for instance the "Seestücke" (Sea Pieces), the "Kerzen"-Bilder (Candle Pictures), the "Wolken"-Bilder (Cloud Pictures) or the "Schweizer Alpen" (Swiss Alps). He begins numbering his works consecutively as early as of 1962.

He is chosen as the first single artist to do the German pavilion for the Biennale in Venice in 1972. He does a series of 48 portraits, standardized images after photos of important intellectuals, such as natural scientists, philosophers, poets etc. Richter's works are shown at all "documenta"- exhibitions V to X. Numerous further exhibitions both on an national as well as an international level as well as art awards are proof of Richter being one of the most influential and successful contemporary artists.

Gerhard Richter lives and works in Cologne.


G. Richter, Gerhard Richter. Birkenau (Köln 2016).

H. Friedel, Gerhard Richter. Atlas, in Four Volumes (Köln 2015).


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019 Photo London, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA

2017 Modern Masters, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA

2016 Birkenau, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany

2015 Gerhard Richter: Painting, Wako Works of Art, Tokyo, Japan

2014 Gerhard Richter: Strips and Glass, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland

2013 Gerhard Richter: Two Sculptures For a Room by Palermo, Tate Modern, Londen, United Kingdom

2012 Gerhard Richter: Panorama at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany

2012 Gerhard Richter at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2011 Panorama at the Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

2009 Gerhard Richter Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, United Kingdom

2008 4900 Colours: Version II at the Serpetine Galley, London, United Kingdom

2001 An American in Europe: The Photography Collection of Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim, Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (MAKK), Cologne, Germany

2000 Sommerutstillingen 2000: Museum, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway

1999 Pop Imperssions, Europe/USA: Prints and Multiples from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, New York, USA

1994 The Tradition of the New: Postwar Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Museum Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

1990 Gerhard Richter. Atlas der Fotos, Collagen en Skizzen, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

1990 Gerhard Richter 18. Oktober 1977, Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada.

1980 Gerhard Richter. Zwei Gelbe Striche, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

1970 Gerhard Richter. Graphik 1965-1970, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany