Gerhard Richter

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Gerhard Richter Photo

Gerhard Richter, born on February 9, 1932, is a world renowned visual artist of the German descent. He set a new tradition in the European painting at the turn of the twentieth century.

Richter spent most of his early childhood in Poland. His father, Ernst Alfred Schönfelder, belonged to the field of academia and taught village children. Richter’s mother, Hildegard Schönfelder, was only twenty five  year old when Ritcher was born.

Ernst used to play the piano as a hobby. In fact, his playing skills were quite famous in the family. Initially, he had been running a business because of the losses, it was forced into bankruptcy. Thereupon he shifted to Dresden where he discovered a passion for music and literature. It was here that he met his future wife, Richter’s mother. They eventually got married in 1931.

Richter quit grammar school in 1947 to join painting classes. A year later, he left his house for a hostel in Zittau. He came back to Dresden in 1951. Over here he began with his formal education in art. Despite the limited access to Germany at the time, Richter managed to travel a number of times.

In 1956, Richter’s art course reached its completion, post which he occupied a position in an academy. Over here, he taught art in return for a generous stipend and studio. In 1957 Richter married Ema Eufinger. They have a daughter together named Betty. However the marriage only lasted till 1970.

In 1961, prior to the making of the Berlin Wall, Richter migrated to West Germany. Thereupon, he called himself a refugee. During his time there, Richter commenced with his studies once again. In 1961, he joined the Düsseldorf Academy. Soon after, along with Manfred Kuttner, he held his first exhibition.

By 1964, Richter was all set to formally begin his artistic journey. It happened during the 1970s that, Richter’s paintings began to gain recognition. They were also exhibited widely. In 1969, he held his first solo show post which he organized exhibitions not only in Germany but also outside it. Tokyo and New York were among the main locations. In 1966, Richter had merely experimented with Geometric Abstraction but in 1971, he began employing the technique with the highest intensity. His much famous series of the Grey Paintings which had begun in the 1960s continued till the 70s. Between the 70s and 80s Richter also utilized abstraction and, minimalism.

Richter’s series of photo-paintings demonstrated the suicide of two infamous terrorists in prison who were killed in the Red Army Faction. This became one of his most important output during the 1980s. In fact it was in the 1980s that he was at the peak of his career. His work was not only acclaimed in Germany but also internationally. A compilation of his paintings in Paris and at Museum of Modern Art in New York authenticate this. His personal life was also faring well. He married again in 1982 to Isa Genzken. He married for the third time in 1995 to Sabine Mortiz who had been his student. Today he has two children with her.

Gerhard Richter continues to enrich art with his input till today. He currently resides near Cologne in Germany.

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