He is considered the most influential, the most famous of the living artists. The total cost of the works sold at auction exceeded half a billion dollars. The price record for one thing was set in February 2015 by an abstract composition for which about $ 44.5 million was paid.
Gerhard Richter, being in venerable age, loves solitude and actively continues to work in his atelier near Cologne. Each new exhibition of his works surprises with the novelty of creative searches and becomes the brightest event in the artistic life of Europe and the world.
Germany, East Germany, Germany
He was born in 1932 in Dresden. Her father, Horst Richter, was a schoolteacher, but her mother, Hildegard, had a greater influence on the spiritual development of Gerhard. She supported in the son of an early interest in art.
In 1951, Gerhard Richter enters Hochschule für Bildende Künste - the Dresden High School of Fine Arts, where he receives a solid academic education. The artistic life of East Germany, where Gerhard was at the place of birth, became increasingly ideologized. The period of the initial training of the profession for a young artist took place in an environment where socialist realism became the main artistic style, and in the context of the struggle against formalism and abstractionism, and at all the only one.
In 1958, Richter visited the city of Kassel (the territory of West Germany) at an exhibition of contemporary art, called the "Document". It was aimed at overcoming the Nazi heritage in art - avant-gardeism was pursued even in the days of fascism. The paintings of artists, personifying the most avant-garde ideas - Jason Pollock, Jean Fotrier, Lucio Fontana and others - have revolutionized Richter's thinking. The desire to have freedom of creativity led him to the decision to emigrate, although he always referred to apolitical artists. In 1961 Gerhard Richter becomes a political refugee and finds himself in the FRG.
Time of experiments
In 1961, Richter, although he completed a course at the Dresden High School, once again becomes a student. He enters the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts. The scholarship that he receives there, has become a significant help in the life of the emigrant. His life during this period - the search for his own way in art and the time of constant experiments. He tries his hand in almost all areas of modern painting - from abstract expressionism to pop art.
Gerhard finds among his classmates his like-minded people, among them Zigmar Polke, Conrad Fisher. In 1963, in one of the empty shops in the center of Düsseldorf, a joint exhibition opens, in which pop art compositions are complemented by performance with the participation of living sculptures, film projection, etc. Richter and his friends called their creative style, not without irony, capitalist realism.
Most of his works of the time, Gerhard Richter considered low-value and destroyed. But it is then that his first pictures, created on the basis of black and white photographs, appear on which a realistic image undergoes a characteristic blur that has become a visiting card-maker.
Since 1964, after graduating from the Academy, the independent path of the artist begins.
The path to recognition
In 1967, Richter awarded Kunstpreis junger westen - a prize that celebrated the most talented young artists of Germany, and in 1971 under his works a whole pavilion is set aside at the famous Venice Biennale. In 1973, the first personal exhibition of the artist in the United States took place.
Since then, his paintings appear in the most prestigious public and private collections. In addition to the purely artistic merits of his works, specialists and spectators note the scale of the searches and experiments of the creator. Richter's ideas inspire artists around the world, they become the basis of new trends in contemporary painting.
Difficulties in classifying
"In my art there is no program, there is no single style, there is no common direction," he likes to repeat Gerhard Richter. His paintings are diverse in genres and themes. In addition to the works created at the junction of painting and photography, the master creates pointless multi-layered colorful compositions, born with the help of scrapers, brushes and squeegee - a wide spatula that distributes colorful mixtures on a large plane.
Known for its monochrome (gray) minimalist paintings and non-objective and figurative, hyperrealistic portraits and landscapes, as well as amazing still-lifes in the style of photo-painting - such are the "Candles" created in the early 1980s, and much more. He participated in the restoration of the famous stained glass in the cathedral of Cologne. At the most recent exhibitions there is also a sculpture - voluminous compositions from glass sheets located at different angles.
Richter in the 21st century
In total, about three thousand paintings by the artist are known. Despite the stroke suffered by Richter, about two hundred new paintings appear every year.
He is confused and confused by the prices at which his works are purchased at auctions. He shows doubts about their justification, saying that today the very essence of artistic creativity is changing. At the same time, the share of skepticism in his assessment of the role of pure art in modern life is growing. Despite this, he is full of energy and a desire to work and create.