Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild [Abstract Painting] 1994 © Gerhard Richter


Born 1932
Nationality German
Birth place Dresden

Richter was born in Dresden, where he studied from 1952 to 1957. In 1961 he settled in Düsseldorf, where he studied under Joseph Beuys. In 1963 he began using images from press photographs and amateur snapshots in his paintings, deliberately blurring them in order to undermine and challenge the boundaries of painting and photography. In the early 1970s Richter explored theoretical ideas about colour in a series of colour charts. In a similar systematic way he made a large number of grey paintings in which he experimented with texture and brushstrokes. Since the late 1970s Richter has painted an ongoing series of colourful abstractions and alternated these with painstakingly accurate renderings in paint of photographs of landscapes, people and still lifes.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

Abstract Art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used from the twentieth century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


An extremely detailed form of naturalistic art, often based on photographs. The style is particularly associated with North American art of the 1970s.


An art movement of the 1970s and 80s inspired by German Expressionism. Most popular in Germany and America, the style is characterized by large, figurative works, rapidly painted, often with objects, such as broken plates or straw, incorporated into their surfaces.


A style of monochromatic painting in shades of grey.