One of the most celebrated and influential German painters Gerhard Richter is a most persuasive and dominant living artist, hold record pricing at auction for several of his artworks. Richter approach of painting with abstraction and photo-based paintings massively contributed to the history of the medium and also recognized of working with glass pieces, photograph, and photo-realistic paintings.
Born on February 09, 1932 Dresden, Saxony in Germany. After schooling, Richter apprenticed as a stage set and advertising painter and finished his vocational training and continued work as a painter before starting his formal studies. The artist was considered eligible for Dresden Academy of Fine arts as it was a great deal because he was earlier rejection due to unadventurous. He flourishes under the teaching and supervision of Karl Von Appen and Will Grohman as teachers. He also taught at University of art Hamburg and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a visiting professor.
During early days of his career, the circumstances of restriction on social realist by the East German Communist Regime on all practising artist to give services to political gains and ban on American Pop Art and Fluxus has limited Gerhard Richter’s artistic style to paint only landscapes rural romanticism. The artist began painting independent series of landscapes which result and emerged as part of his oeuvre.
In 1959, two years after first marriage to Marianne Eufinger, he moved to West Germany and explored the work of other contemporary artists Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana. Pollock’s artistic style of splashing colour to canvas has provoked Richter’s artistic ideology which leads to unfold and strengthen his visualization and artistic liberation which American and European contemporaries paint in their abstract work.
Before the building of Berlin Wall, he moved to West Germany and began studying at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf art academy under Karl Otto Gotz alongside some of the popular painters and artists like Sigmar Polke, Blinky Palermo, and Konrad Fischer. They have worked together exhibiting and developing of pop art in Germany. He earned to produce highly realistic socialist realist murals. Richter’s interest in current affairs, growing consumer society, and media was progressively noticeable in his paintings.
Gerhard Richter art works exhibit both illusionistic and the material of painting as shared intrusions, explaining reality and visual as a combination of attempting the presentation and painting of the surroundings. The artist used glass in his work making four panes of glass which could tilt away at an angle that differs from one to the next installation; the design was collectively submitted by the artist and Blinky Palermo for the sports facilities during Munich Olympic Games.
Revolutionizing a style of painting through discovering a connection between painting and photograph, Richter’s painted various pictures from black and white photography base on the multiple sources including newspaper and books, snapshots, Ariel landscape views mainly faces such as Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, and Franz Kafka. All of the paintings are made up of the multi-stage process, starting with photographs and projecting them into canvas replicating the originality and hallmark of blur attained by soft brushstrokes. Reference portrait of his daughter ‘Betty’ flickering candles and murals of a number of dealers and artist and acquaintance in his immediate circle.
Gaining momentum in career and reputation in 70’s he gradually accustomed to conceptualism, minimalism, and formalism while engaged with geometric abstraction and colour charts pursuing the colour grid. Further progress led to the development of pieces designed to border between abstraction and figuration. After separation from the first wife, the sculptor Isa Genzken was the other person he married in 1982, following year accepting large space studio offered by his gallerist, the artist continued experimenting abstraction with more enthusiasm and energy. Candles become the primary subject figuring new techniques and approach to photo paintings.
Richter’s atlas initially exhibited in the ’70s which includes 315 parts keep on expanding and exhibits later in full format Lenbachhaus in Munich, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and at Dia Art Foundation in New York composed of nearly 4000 photographs, cut out details grouped together on multiple panels.
In 2002 the artist was asked to produce a stained glass window in the Cologne Cathedral unveiled in 2007 as 113 square meters abstract collage randomly arranged.
Richter’s painting set a record high auction for any living artist for his artwork Abstraktes Bild in 1994 with a price of $ 34 million and broke the record twice again $ 37.1 Million for Domplatz and then by Abstraktes Bild with $ 44.52 Million. The artist currently residing in Cologne Germany and his artwork held among others in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina in Vienna, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London.
Watch Gerhard Richter in Studio, Interview of Gerhard Richter