Gerhard Richter was born on February 9, 1932 in Dresden. After completing school, he became an apprentice at the municipal theater in Zittau. His first application to the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts was rejected. He was subsequently accepted in 1951 and studied painting and mural painting there until 1961. He received state commissions and produced independent work. He attended the documenta II in Kassel in 1959 and the abstract art he saw there had a major impact on him.
In 1961, Richter and his wife fled to West Germany. He continued his studies in Düsseldorf. He immersed himself in the Düsseldorf art scene and experimented with different forms of artistic expression. He worked closely with the artists Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg, Blinky Palermo, and Günther Uecker. In the early 1960s, Richter began basing his paintings on black-and-white photographs. In 1966, he created his first nonrepresentational paintings, began his series of Color Charts, and experimented with glass. In different series of works he advanced his examination of the possibilities inherent in painting. His work was marked by a rapid change in styles.
From 1971 to 1994, Richter taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 1972, his work was shown at the West German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and he participated for in the documenta the first time. Richter’s work Construction (1976) initiated his series of Abstract paintings, his most extensive group to date. In 1980, he began using a squeegee for the first time to create his Abstract paintings. Since 1983, Richter has lived and worked in Cologne and his work has been the focus of numerous international exhibitions. In 1995, he married the artist Sabine Moritz. From the 2000s, Richter began to fundamentally expand the materials and techniques he uses with his Reverse-Glass works and Strips. In 2007, he created a monumental stained-glass window for the Cologne Cathedral. Today, Gerhard Richter is one of the most successful living artists in the world.