Essay on Gerhard Richter

Essay by karl987654321High School, 11th gradeA, March 2009

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Gerhard RichterGerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, Germany, in poverty that resulted from defeat in World War 1. His family was involved in the Nazi movement, and he saw many deaths as a child. Richter enjoyed experimenting with photography as a child, and after tenth grade he left school to become an apprentice as an advertising and stage-set painter. Next he applied to study at the Dresden University of Visual Arts, but got rejected, however he was accepted into the Dresden Art Academy soon afterwards in 1951. As part of his B.A, Richter painted two wall murals, which where painted over by the government for ideological reasons. After graduating, he got married and escaped to West Germany in 1956, two months before the Berlin wall was built. From 1961 to 1964, Richter studied at the Arts Academy of Dusseldorf under Karl Otto Gotz. Richter also then taught for a year at a college in Hamburg, and for 22 years at Dresden Art Academy.

Richter got remarried to a famous sculptor and moved to Cologne in 1983, where he remarried a third time in 1995, and still lives today.

For the first 3 decades of his life, Richter was shut off from American and European culture. The German communist regime banned the Pop and Fluxus movements, and were only dedicated to social realism, causing Richter to focus on Romantic landscapes at first. It was not until 1959 that Richter saw expressionistic pieces by Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana, at an exhibit in Kassel. Richter realized here that as realistic as his paintings were, they were not real. He started trying to figure out his own style. He came to the conclusion, under the influence of Joseph Beuys' Holocaust depictions, that art should be separated from history. Richter...