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Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter

*  1932 Dresden

Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden on February 9, 1932, he grew up in Waltersdorf (Oberlausitz). He studies at the Dresden Art Academy from 1951 to 1956. In 1959 he visits the documenta II in Kassel, which has, under the directorate of Werner Haftmann, abstract art after 1945 as its main theme. He is especially impressed by works of Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana. Gerhard Richter moves to the Federal Republic of Germany in order to dodge the state-imposed "Socialist Realism" of the GDR. From 1961 to 1963 he continues his studies at the Düsseldorf Academy, where he encounters informal art in classes of Karl Otto Götz, and makes tachist pictures himself. He gets in touch with the Fluxus movement and becomes friends with Sigmar Polke and Blinky Palermo. With Polke and Konrad Fischer-Lueg, the artist and later gallery owner, Richter founds the group of "Capitalist Realists". They set up the art happening "Leben mit Pop - Eine Demonstration für den Kapitalistischen Realismus" (Life with Pop - A Demonstraion for Capitalist Realism) in a Düsseldorf furniture shop in 1963, which is also where he presents his "graue Fotobilder" (Gray Photo Pictures) for the first time.
As of 1962 Gerhard Richter numbers all is pictures consecutively, creating an extremely vast and diverse oeuvre, in which Richter over and over again scrutinizes the medium painting. He uses all kinds of objects for his pictures, that he works over so that the original motif and its content is obscured, creating the series of paintings also known as "Vermalungen".
In 1966 Gerhard Richter begins to work on the group of works called "Farbtafeln" (Color Plates) using unaltered tones that he arranges on the image carrier, similar to the commercially available cards of the Color System. From 1967 until 1975 he makes the "Graue Bilder" (Gray Pictures) for which Gerhard Richter exclusively uses shades of grey in various structures and painting techniques. Again and again he does a number of pictures of a certain motif, for example the "Seestücke" (Sea Pictures, 1969-1976), the cloud pictures or the Alp pictures.
In 1972 Gerhard Richter represents Germany at the Venice Biennale, for which he drew the series "48 Portraits". His works are shown at all documenta exhibitions V-X. Today the artist has numerous exhibitions, both national and international, and has received awards and art prizes. He can very well be regarded as one of the most influential internationally acknowledged contemporary artists.
Gerhard Richter has been living and working in Cologne as of the 1980s.