Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting by Gerhard RichterRanging from photo-based pictures to gestural abstraction, Gerhard Richters diverse body of work calls into question many widely-held attitudes about the importance of stylistic consistency and the relationship of technological means and mass media imagery to traditional studio methods and formats. Unlike many of his peers, he has explored these issues through the medium of painting, challenging it to meet the demands posed by new forms of conceptual art. In every level of his varied output--from his austere photo-based realism of the early 60s, to his brightly colored gestural abstractions of the early 80s, to his notorious cycle of black-and-white paintings of the Baader-Meinhof group--Richter has assumed a critical distance from vanguardists and conservatives alike regarding what painting should be. The result has been one of the most convincing renewals of paintings vitality to be found in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century art. With an extensive and insightful critical essay by curator Robert Storr, a recent interview with the artist, a chronology, an exhibition history and nearly 300 color and duotone reproductions, Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting marks a significant contribution to the understanding of contemporary art in general, and Gerhard Richter in particular.
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Gerhard Richter , born February 9, , Dresden, Germany , German painter known for his diverse painting styles and subjects. His deliberate lack of commitment to a single stylistic direction has often been read as an attack on the implicit ideologies embedded in the specific histories of painting. Such distaste for aesthetic dogma has been interpreted as a response to his early art training in communist East Germany. Born one year before Adolf Hitler came to power, Richter grew up under the shadow of Nazism and then within East Germany. He studied painting at the Kunstakademie in Dresden from to and thereafter became a successful Social Realist painter. Granted permission to travel to the West, he was exposed to avant-garde art of the period. Other fellow students embraced such styles as Tachism or Art Informel and such movements as Fluxus , which allowed much personal expression.
Richter's sister Gisela is born. Horst is transferred to the Western Front where he is captured by the Allies and detained as prisoner of war. She is killed as part of the Nazi eugenics programme, and Richter will make a photo painting of her and himself as a baby, Aunt Marianne [CR: 87] , in December: Richter receives a simple plate camera as a Christmas gift from his mother. Werner Jungmichel, a camera shop owner in Waltersdorf teaches the young Richter how to develop photographs, a skill that will prove useful throughout his career.
Photographs were regarded as true, paintings as artificial. The painted picture was no longer credible; its representation froze into immobility, because it was not authentic but invented. I therefore neither plan nor invent; I add nothing and omit nothing. At the same time, I know that I inevitably shall plan, invent, alter, make and manipulate. But I don't know that. That's the opposite of before. It was important things or serious things.
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A daughter, Gisela, followed four years later. They were in many respects an average middle-class family: Horst worked as a teacher at a secondary school in Dresden and Hildegard was a bookseller who liked to play the piano. Gerhard Richter Biography Early Years. Share this page Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Interactive timeline. In , Horst accepted a teaching position at a school in Reichenau, a town which today is known as Bogatynia in Poland, at the time located in the German province Saxony. Settling in Reichenau was a drastic change for the family, which was accustomed to the vivid cultural life of the larger Dresden.
Gerhard Richter is a German painter who originally trained in a realist style and later developed an appreciation for the more progressive work of his American and European contemporaries. Richter increasingly employed his own painting as a means for exploring how images that appear to capture "truth" often prove, on extended viewing, far less objective, or unsure in meaning, than originally assumed. The other common themes in his work are the elements of chance, and the play between realism and abstraction. Notably, some of Richter's relatives were directly involved in the Nazi movement, namely his father, a schoolteacher, and an uncle. Richter's mother, the daughter of a concert pianist, encouraged her son's early talent for draftsmanship. In , at the age of 16, Richter quit his formal education and took up an apprenticeship as a set painter for the theater.