1932, Dresde, Germany
Gerhard Richter is considered as one of the most important contemporary German artists. Born in Dresden, his youth was marked by the Nazi and Communist regimes in Germany, and his uneasy relationship to German history would persist as a central theme in his work. In the early 1950s, he attended the Kunstakademie in Dresden, where he was trained in Socialist Realist painting, before moving to West Germany and studying avant-garde art at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.
Gerhard Richter is known for a prolific and stylistically varied exploration of the medium of painting, often incorporating and exploring the visual effects of photography. “I like everything that has no style: dictionaries, photographs, nature, myself and my paintings,” he says. “Because style is violent, and I am not violent”. In the early 1960s, Richter began to create large-scale photorealist copies of black-and-white photographs rendered in a range of grays, and innovated a blurred effect (sometimes deemed “photographic impressionism”) in which portions of his compositions appear smeared or softened—paradoxically reproducing photographic effects and revealing his painterly hand. With heavily textured abstract gray monochromes, Richter introduced abstraction into his practice, and he has continued to move freely between figuration and abstraction, producing geometric “Colour Charts”, bold, gestural abstractions, and “Photo Paintings” of anything from nudes, flowers, and cars to landscapes, architecture, and scenes from Nazi history. Richter absorbed a range of influences, from Caspar David Friedrich and Roy Lichtenstein to Art Informel and Fluxus.
His artwork Snow-White (2005), exhibited in this exhibition, is made by applying acrylic paint and pencil onto offset prints of details of his Abstract Painting from 2004. Each of the 100 works from the Snow-White edition is unique. He has held retrospectives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in addition to important exhibitions at the Venice Biennale and at the Documenta in Kassel, Germany, among other venues.
Gerhard Richter currently lives and works in Cologne, Germany.