1932 · Germany
Gerard Richter is known for his abstract, but also for his photorealistic paintings. Richter also produces photographs and glass pieces. By working in all these different styles and mediums, he undermines the concept of the artist’s obligation to stick to one single cohesive style.
In 1963, Richter had his first solo show at the Möbelhaus Berges, Düsseldorf. There, he introduced his photo-painting style, employing his own photographs of landscapes, portraits, and still lifes as a basis for his paintings. Richter here blurred the subjects in his paintings, in order to distinguish painting from photography. In 1967, Richter won the Junger Westen art prize from the city of Recklinghausen in Germany. During this time, he began his “Constructive” phase. This included the Color Charts, Inpaintings, Gray Paintings, Forty-eight Portraits, and his work with mirrors. Richter’s work was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1972, and he also participated in Documenta 5 in Kassel that year. He showed at Documenta again in 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, and 1997.
Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, Germany. He studied art at the Kunstakademie, Dresden between 1952 and 1957. From 1961 to 1964, Richter studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Karl Otto Götz. He has lived and worked in Cologne since 1983. In 2007, he designed a stained-glass window for the city’s cathedral.
In 1988, Richter was given his first North American retrospective, which was co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Since then, Richter has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (1989), Tate Gallery in London (1991), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (1994), Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (1997), Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst in Oslo (1999), Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (2002), Museum of Modern Art in New York (2002), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (2003), Kunst Museum Bonn (2004), National Museum of China in Beijing (2008), and National Portrait Gallery in London (2009).