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Gerhard Richter is not only one of the most successful artists in Germany, but also one of the best paid. The works of art by the well-known painter and sculptor are among the most expensively traded by a living artist on the art market.
Gerhard Richter was born on February 9, 1932 in Dresden. The artist grew up in Reichenau and Waltersdorf. This is in Upper Lusatia. In 1948, Richter obtained his secondary school leaving certificate after attending commercial school in Zittau. Richter then completed an apprenticeship as a lettering, stage and advertising painter. He applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden for the first time in 1950, but was initially rejected. A year later, however, Gerhard Richter was fortunately granted access to the art academy.
Richter’s studies at the Art Academy in Dresden marked the start of his career. His teachers there included Heinz Lohmar and Karl von Appen. In 1955, as part of his undergraduate degree, Richter painted a mural entitled Last Supper with Picasso. This mural found its place in the canteen of the Dresden Academy. For his diploma thesis, Richter painted another mural entitled “Joy of Life”, which hangs in the Dresden Hygiene Museum. Unfortunately, these two murals were painted over after Gerhard Richter’s escape, but after reunification at least the artwork “Joy of Life” was uncovered in some places.
Between 1957 and 1961 the artist worked as a master student at the academy and in this capacity accepted government commissions for the GDR. Many different murals by the artist were created during this creative phase.
In February 1961, Gerhard Richter and his wife fled to West Germany. His daughter Betty was born there five years later. Most of the works that Richter had created before he fled to West Germany he had to leave behind in the east. Many of these works of art were lost forever.
Between 1961 and 1964 Richter continued his art studies, this time at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. There he was taught by Karl Otto Götz and Ferdinand Macketanz, among others.
After several career stops, Richter was appointed professor of painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1971.
Richter had his first solo exhibition in Munich in the summer of 1964. Many more exhibitions at home and abroad were to follow. Over the years Richter developed into a very respected artist, so that in 1993 and 1994 a retrospective was held in his honor in Madrid, Paris, Bonn and Stockholm.
Since August 20, 2004, there have been the Gerhard Richter Rooms in Dresden, in which 32 of the artist’s works are on display.
The British daily newspaper “The Guardian” called Gerhard Richter one of the most successful contemporary painters. The talented artist can also call numerous awards his own. These include the “State Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia”, the “Wexner Prize”, the “European Culture Prize Taurus” or the “Oskar Kokoschka Prize”.
There are many quotes attributed to Gerhard Richter or taken directly from one of his works.
A well-known poem by the artist reads: “Art is the highest form of hope”.
According to “Manager Magazin”, Gerhard Richter is one of the 500 richest Germans.
In addition, the “Art Compass 2014” describes him as the most important contemporary artist.
Also, many people may not be aware that his aunt Marianne Schönfelder was murdered by Nazi doctors in 1945 as part of the National Socialist euthanasia.
It is interesting in this context that Richter’s first father-in-law was an SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer and in this capacity was said to have been responsible for forced sterilizations in Dresden. Gerhard Richter was not aware of this fact for a long time.