Gerhard Richter

written on 01/07/2020
by Gabi Breitenbach

You realise that you can't represent reality at all - that what you make represents nothing but itself, and therefore is itself reality. - Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter is widely regarded as one of the world's leading contemporary artists. During a career spanning almost fifty years, the astonishing range of his work has become a defining characteristic, with painting at the centre of his development.

Born in Dresden, East Germany in 1932 Richter began his career as a social realist mural artist under the communist regime, escaping to West Germany in 1961 just before the Berlin Wall went up. A student at the Düsseldorf Academy under Professor Joseph Beuys, Richter connected with avant-garde figures Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg and Blinky Palermo.

Richter is known for his blurred paintings, modernising traditional art through technique, and using photography as his source of material. These blurred paintings of photographs are close to reality but also contain a nostalgic distance, because the eye can never precisely capture the image being viewed.

‘The most perfect picture' is how Gerhard Richter described his choice in the early ‘60s to use found snapshots as the primary source for his neo-realist paintings.




A prize winning documentary about Gerhard Richter and his work was released in 2011. Watch the trailer below!