biography anchor



1932 Dresden, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Gerhard Richter, born in Dresden in 1932, grew up in Upper Lusatia. In 1948 he finished high school in Zittau and was trained there from 1949 to 1951 as an advertising painter. From 1951 he studied at the Dresden Art Academy, his teachers were Karl von Appen and Heinz Lohmar. In 1957 Gerhard Richter married Marianne (Ema) Eufinger. From 1957 to 1961 he worked as a master student at the academy and took on government contracts from the GDR. During this time he created an extensive work on murals and oil paintings (portraits of Angelica Domröse and Richter’s first wife Marianne, called Ema),

At the end of February 1961, Gerhard Richter and Ema fled via West Berlin to West Germany, where Betty, their daughter, was born in 1966. He had to leave behind his works of art created in the GDR, some of which he is said to have burned before he left. Only a few of these pictures have been preserved.

From 1961 to 1964 Richter continued his art studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with Ferdinand Macketanz and Karl Otto Götz. His fellow students in the Götz class were Sigmar Polke, HA Schult, Kuno Gonschior, Franz Erhard Walther, Konrad Lueg and Gotthard Graubner.

After Gerhard Richter worked as an art teacher at the end of the 1960s and was a visiting lecturer at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts in 1967, he received a professorship in painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1971. He taught there until 1993. In 1972 he supported together with Uwe Johnson, Heinrich Böll, David Hockney, Günther Uecker, Henry Moore, Richard Hamilton, Peter Handke and Martin Walser his colleague Joseph Beuys, whose teaching license had been withdrawn by Minister of Culture Johannes Rau.

The marriage to Ema divorced in 1982, and in the same year Richter and sculptor Isa Genzken, his master student, married, which ended in divorce after 11 years. Richter has been married to the painter Sabine Moritz (* 1969) since 1995, the last student he accepted before retiring. Richter has lived in Cologne since 1983; his studio is located in the Hahnwald district of Cologne.


According to the ranking by Artnet, Gerhard Richter is one of the world’s most expensive living contemporary artists, ahead of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. The market volume of his works in auctions in previous years was the equivalent of 558 million euros. Manager Magazin has put him on the list of the most important artists every year since 2010.
-Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
-Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne


For an extensive exhibition list, please follow the link to the artist’s website: