(b. 1932, Germany)
Lives and works in Cologne
Born in 1932 in Dresden, to secondary school teacher father and a bookseller and pianist mother, Richter describes his childhood with his younger sister as “simple, orderly, structured.”
In 1951, at the age of 19, Richter began his art studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, learning under the tutelage of Will Grohmann, Karl von Appen and Heinz Lohmar. Two months prior to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Richter escaped to West Germany and soon after began studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where he took an interest in exploring the relationships between painting and photography. In 1983, the artist relocated from Düsseldorf to Cologne, where he still lives and works today.
Richter’s influence on contemporary art is now often viewed as unparalleled and pivotal to the 20th and 21st century. During a time when the art historical canon was arguably going through a phase of claiming death of the painting medium, Richter pursued painting, crossing over from realism to abstraction. He challenged the concept of the medium through cross-dialogue with other disciplines, resulting in a renewal to the acceptance of painting.
In a 1999 interview with journalist Stefan Koldehoff for his exhibition Gerhard Ricther: Text, the artist is famously quoted having said that “. . .after this century of grand proclamations and terrible illusions, I hope for an era in which real and tangible accomplishments, and not grand proclamations, are the only things that count.”
Widely exhibited internationally, 2017 marked the 85th birthday of the artist and saw many museum retrospectives and survey exhibitions mounted in his honor including at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Folkwang Museum in Essen, the Prague National Gallery and the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, among others.