Gerhard Richter turns 90 – this is how Dresden celebrates the artist of the century

Special show in the Albertinum

Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter was born on February 9, 1932 in Dresden. Photo: David Pinzer

Dresden is celebrating one of its most famous sons. Read about how and where the artist Gerhard Richter’s 90th birthday is being celebrated this year.

Gerhard Richter may have given up painting in 2018, but not art. He still draws, but exclusively with pencil and wax crayon instead of with a paintbrush. He also now prefers small formats. Indisputably one of the most important artists of our time, Richter no longer has anything to prove.

Gerhard Richter – he doesn’t care much about the hype about himself

As the most highly regarded living painter, Gerhard Richter has had plenty of superlatives applied to him. His “Abstract Painting” was auctioned in London in 2015 for the record sum of 41 million euros.

Gerhard Richter
In 2001 Richter created the abstract painting 875-6 with oil paints on Alu-Dibond.

Born in Dresden in 1932, Richter left the former GDR in 1961 and went to study at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He became known to a broad public primarily through his photographic images in the early 1960s and his abstract paintings. To date, his output comprises more than 30,000 works. But Gerhard Richter himself simply shrugs at his reputation in the art world. In fact, he talks about the hype around him and his art – hype which he finds repugnant.

With this action, Gerhard Richter caused a sensation in Dresden

On the other hand, he comments on his popularity with extremely self-deprecating actions. In December 1986, Richter visited his home-town Dresden for the first time in 26 years. His ap-pearance at the exhibition, which was part of the German cultural agreement between East and West, caused a sensation. Artists from the Federal Republic and the former GDR had painted a collaborative piece of work. Richter, who was the last to draw his brushstrokes on the work in front of TV cameras from both sides, could not help but give the art happening his own personal punch line: he placed his signature across the entire painting.

Getting a picture, having a view, makes us human – art is giving meaning, shaping meaning, like seeking God and religion.

Gerhard Richter, Notes 1962

But leaving this act aside, for a change, Richter is rather considered extremely modest and ex-tremely self-critical. Which is also why he has successfully turned down any plans for museums dedicated to his art exclusively to this day.

Albertinum shows works by Richter until the end of April

At the Albertinum’s special exhibition, the Gerhard Richter Archive of the Dresden State Art Collections has nevertheless been receiving support from the master. For some years now, two rooms have been reserved for Richter’s latest works. For the show curated by Richter on the occasion of his 90th birthday, his artwork will be shown in three rooms for the first time.

The exhibits include paintings from the artist’s private collection, from national and interna-tional galleries as well as rarely exhibited paintings from the Gerhard Richter Foundation. The loans include a self-portrait from the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as family portraits including, for example, Richter’s daughters Betty and Ella.

In 1977 Gerhard Richter produced portraits of his daughter Betty. This and other oil paintings are based on photographs.

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