Interactive timeline

1932: 9 February: Gerhard Richter born in Dresden-Neustadt Hospital to Hildegard Richter, a bookseller, and Horst Richter, a secondary schoolteacher.

1933: 30 January: Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor.

1936: The Richter family moves to Reichenau, east of Dresden (now Bogatynia, Poland). Richter's sister Gisela is born.

1939: 1 September: German invasion of Poland; Horst drafted into the military and sent to the Eastern Front.

1942: Richter conscripted into the Pimpfe, the organisation that prepared children to join Hitler Youth.

1943: Hildegard and the children move to rural Waltersdorf to escape the growing dangers of the Second World War. Horst transferred to the Western Front, where he is captured by the Allies and goes on to spend the rest of the war in an American prisoner of war camp.

1944: Richter's uncle Rudi killed in the war; he would become the subject of the photo painting Uncle Rudi [CR: 85] in 1965.

1945: Death of Richter's aunt Marianne, who is killed as part of the Nazi eugenics programme, and of whom Richter would make a photo painting, Aunt Marianne [CR: 87], in 1965.

February: Allied aerial bombings leave Dresden in ruins.

December: Richter receives a simple plate camera as a Christmas gift from his mother. Werner Jungmichel, a camera shop owner in Waltersdorf teaches the young Richter to develop and print photographs, a skill which he would continue to use as an aid to painting and as a means of recording his own work.

1946: After the war, Horst returns home but as a former member of the National Socialist Party is unable to return to teaching and takes a job as a labourer in a textile mill in Zittau. Richter makes his first serious attempt at drawing a nude, copied from a book. Enrols in a trade school in Zittau where he learns stenography, typing and bookkeeping. Befriends Hans Lillig, a mural painter active in Waltersdorf who teaches classes at the local high school.

1947: Attends night school to study painting.

1948: Receives his trade-school diploma.

1949: Works with a sign painter in Zittau.

7 October: founding of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

1950: February: Works for around six months as an assistant set painter at the municipal theatre in Zittau.

August: Decides to become a professional artist. Applies, unsuccessfully, to Dresden Art Academy (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden) for the winter semester 1950/51.

October: Following the Academy's suggestion that he work at a 'people's owned' factory and then reapply, Richter takes a job as a sign painter at DEWAG in Zittau.

1951: Reapplies to Dresden Art Academy and this time is accepted. Leaves his job at DEWAG and returns to Dresden.

Everything had been destroyed. There were only piles of rubble to the left and right of what had been streets. Every day we walked from the academy to the cafeteria, trough the rubble, about two kilometres there and back.

[Elger 2009, pp.10-11]

September: Enrols at Dresden Art Academy. Richter's artistic production in Dresden is characterised by two distinct bodies of work: his official assignments and a private, more experimental body of work.

My time in Dresden fundamentally and powerfully influenced me, although I wasn't really aware of it at the time. I realized it later. However, as far as the 'great tradition of German painting goes, I received a very patchy account of that due to the ideological slant on art as it was taught to us, and the attitudes about modern art that were more or less mangled by the time they reached us from the West.

[Interview with Jeanne Anne Nugent, 2006, in Richter 2009, p.511]

Richter (left) with Heinz Lohmar in Lohmar's mural class, 1954

1953: Enrols in mural painting class with Heinz Lohmar.

1955: Paints The Supper, a mural in the Academy dining room. Stages two performative photographs with his artist friends Joachim Jastram and Alfred Thomalla: Madness and Hanging.

Summer: Travels west to Hamburg and Munich. Visits Paris.

December: Assigned to the mural project for the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum.

Mural Joy of Life at Deutsches Hygienemuseum, Dresden, 1956

1956: Graduates from Dresden Art Academy and completes the project Joy of Life (Lebensfreude). He soon has enough commissions to work independently.

In the years leading up to his resettlement in the West he completes several murals, including a project based on the Tales of 1001 Nights for a local kindergarten.

Remains at the Academy as an 'aspirant' (apprentice), teaching life drawing for three years, in exchange for a stipend and a studio. One of his students, Manfred Kuttner, would become one of Richter's collaborators in the 1960s, after both had relocated to West Germany.

I was always looking for a third way in which Eastern realism and Western modernism would be resolved into one redeeming construct. Besides, working underground, defiantly unknown and isolated, was never for me - that was not my thing.

[Elger 2009, p.22]

1957: Makes Elbe, a series of thirty-one monotypes.

June: Marries Marianne 'Ema' Eufinger in West Germany.

Workers Uprising Mural at the Socialist Unity Party Headquarters, Dresden 1959

1958: Attends the Universal Exhibition in Brussels.

1959: Completes a mural for the headquarters of the Socialist Unity Party in Dresden, Workers Uprising.

Summer: Visits documenta II in Kassel, where he is impressed by the work of painters Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana. Takes a number of photographs of the exhibits, which he shares with his artist friends back in Dresden.

The sheer brazenness of it! That really fascinated me and impressed me. I might almost say that those paintings were the real reason why I left the GDR. I realized that there was something wrong with my whole way of thinking.

[Interview with Benjamin H.D. Buchloh (1986) in Richter 2009, p.163]

Between his return from Kassel to Dresden and his resettlement in the West, undertakes a series of experiments exploring Informel on the one hand and still lifes inspired by Giorgio Morandi on the other.

In the end, things were going well for me in the GDR. As a mural painter, I was not as exposed to the formalist accusations as others in the system, but that was an unsatisfactory prospect, above all because the paintings that I painted on the side, which were my true concern, became worse and worse, less free and less genuine.

[Elger 2009, p.29]

1961: Travels alone to the Soviet Union, leaving an extra suitcase at Berlin Tempelhof station on the return trip. Continues on to Dresden to fetch Ema; the couple travel onwards to East Berlin, where they board an S-Bahn to the Western Sector.

After eight days in a refugee camp in Göttingen, they travel to Oldenburg, where Ema's parents are living. Richter travels on to Düsseldorf, where Ema would later join him. He would not return to Dresden for twenty-five years.

Spring: Immerses himself in the art scene. Finalising his break with the East, he mounts the photos of the works he had made in Dresden and puts them in a portfolio. Makes Informel works with titles such as Wound and Scar. Applies to Düsseldorf Art Academy and is accepted in to the class led by Ferdinand Macketanz for the winter semester.

13 August: Construction of the Berlin Wall begins.

Invitation card for exhibition Kuttner, Lueg, Polke, Richter at Kaiserstraße 31a, Düsseldorf, May 1963

1962: Makes first photo paintings. Paints Table [CR: 1], which would become the first entry in his self-organised catalogue raisonné.

When I copied the first photos, I had the feeling for the first time that I was doing something special and above all, something on my own. In the jargon of the day, it was 'radical'. And those who saw it suddenly had no argument, except for the one that it was unacceptable simply to ignore the rules and copy a photo.

[Elger 2009, p.46]

February: Reunited with Kuttner and meets Konrad Lueg (later Konrad Fischer), and Sigmar Polke at the Kunstakademie review exhibition at the end of the winter semester.

By summer: Along with Lueg and Polke, transfers to Karl Otto Götz's class.

8-30 September: First professional exhibition, M. Kuttner – G. Richter: Düsseldorf at Galerie Junge Kunst, Fulda. After the exhibition, he burns the works he had shown.

Berges furniture store, venue for Living with Pop: A Demonstration for Capitalist Realism, October 1963

1963: Continues photo paintings. Starts an inventory of work, beginning with Table [CR: 1].

January: This month's edition of Art International introduces Richter and friends to Pop Art.

February: During the annual student review exhibition, Lueg points out Blinky Palermo's work to Richter. Palermo and Richter meet at the Kunstakademie later this year.

Spring: travels to Paris with Lueg – they introduce themselves to Parisian galleries as 'German Pop artists'. Sees work by Roy Lichtenstein at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend.

Detail of Deer (Hirsch), CR: 7, 1963

11-26 May: Kuttner, Lueg, Polke, Richter exhibition in an abandoned storefront in Kaiserstraße 31a, Düsseldorf. The jointly designed invitation takes various 'isms', posing them as questions: Pop Art? Imperialist Realism? Antikunst? Noveau Realisme? Neo-Dada? In a letter to Neue Deutsche Wochenschau Richter describes the project as the 'first exhibition of "German Pop Art"' and coins the term 'Capitalist Realism'.

11-25 October: Gerhard Richter/Konrad Lueg: Living with Pop: A Demonstration for Capitalist Realism at Möbelhaus Berges, Düsseldorf. For this 'demonstration' in a furniture showroom the two artists hung their works alongside furniture presented on plinths and presented themselves as artworks.

We presented ourselves not as artists, but as sculptures. I wanted to display myself as an occupant, as a member of the petit bourgeoisie, with this pathetic blanket on the sofa.

[Elger 2009, p.66]

Detail of Schärzler, CR: 17, 1964

1964: Begins to use a projector to make photo paintings. Makes first Curtain paintings.

February: Third and final show at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Along with Polke, Lueg and Kuttner, drives to Wuppertal and installs works in the front garden of Rudolf Jährling's villa at Moltkestrasse 61, resulting in a group show at his Galerie Parnass later that year.

10 June-10 July: Gerd Richter: Photo Paintings, Portraits and Families at Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich. (His work is presented alongside work by Peter Klasen.)

July: Leaves Academy. Attends Fluxus Festival at the Technische Hochschule, Aachen.

9-30 September: First solo exhibition, Gerhard Richter, at Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf.

16 September-5 November: Participates in inaugural exhibition at Galerie Rene Block, Berlin – Neo-Dada, Pop, Décollage, Capitalist Realism – alongside Lueg, Polke, Wolf Vostell et al.

19 October-20 November: Uwe Lausen, Natai Morosov, Gerd Richter, Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich.

18 November-5 January 1965: Gerd Richter: Images of Capitalist Realism, Galerie René Block, Berlin.

20 November-30 December: New Realists: Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerd Richter, Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal.

Contact with like-minded painters – a group means a great deal to me: nothing comes in isolation. We have worked out our ideas largely by talking them through. Shutting myself away in the country, for instance, would do nothing for me. One depends on one's surroundings. And so the exchange with other artists – and especially the collaboration with Lueg and Polke – matters a lot for me: it is part of the input that I need.

[Notes (1964) in Richter 2009, p.23]

Detail of Uncle Rudi (Onkel Rudi), CR: 85, 1965

1965: Paints Uncle Rudi [CR: 85] and Curtain works. Creates first multiple, Dog, in an edition of eight. Begins using his own photographs as source material for photo paintings.

Summer: Visits Hommage à Marcel Duchamp exhibition at Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld (6 June-1 August 1965).

24 June-3 October: Major Art Exhibition Munich 1965: 14 Aspects of Today's Art, Haus der Kunst, Munich.

10 July-5 August: Capitalist Realism: Richter, Lueg & Polke, Galerie Orez, The Hague.

October: Begins collaborating with Polke. Together they co-author the artists' book polke/richter - richter/polke six months before their joint exhibition.

27 September-13 November: Hommage á Berlin, Galerie René Block, Berlin.

24 October-28 November: Tendencies, Städtisches Museum Trier.

Detail of Ema (Nude on a Staircase) [Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe)], CR: 134, 1966

1966: Paints first Colour Charts and Ema [CR: 134], the first work based on one of his own colour photographs. Continues to paint Curtains. Begins creative dialogue with Palermo.

When I painted my first Colour Charts in 1966, that had more to do with Pop Art. They were copies of paint sample cards, and what was effective about them was that they were directed against the efforts of the Neo-Constructivists, Albers and the rest.

[Interview with Buchloh 1986 in Richter 2009, p.169]

1-26 March: polke/richter at Galerie h, Hannover.

Detail of 192 Colours (192 Farben), CR: 136, 1966

September: Plans a joint exhibition with Lueg at Galerie Niepel, Düsseldorf, under the working title Sex and Mass Murder, but considering their attempts to juxtapose pornography with images of concentration camps a failure, they abandon the project.

April: Heiner Friedrich becomes exclusive dealer in exchange for a fixed monthly income and a varying percentage of the proceeds of any sales.

5 June-10 July: Young Generation: Painters and Sculptors in Germany, Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

9-30 September: Konrad Lueg, Gerhard Richter: Germany's Best Exhibition, Galerie Patio, Frankfurt am Main.

11-27 October: Exhibits first Colour Charts with Heiner Friedrich. Gerhard Richter: Colour Charts, Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich.

December: Hommage à Schmela, Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf – a series of seven day-long solo exhibitions. Lueg includes Richter's Portrait Schmela, 1964 [CR: 37-3] in his presentation on 12 December. On 13 December, Richter's contribution to the exhibition series, Volker Bradke, features a multi-media portrait of a local student who is part of the Düsseldorf art scene.

9 December-21 January 1967: Gerhard Richter, Galerie René Block, Berlin.

December: Birth of daughter Babette (Betty).

Detail of 4 Panes of Glass (4 Glasscheiben), CR: 160, 1967

1967: Paints Corrugated Iron, Tubes, Doors, photo paintings of pornographic images, Large Curtain [CR: 163-1]. First glass construction: 4 Panes of Glass [CR: 160].

Wins Junger Westen art prize, Recklinghausen.

2 May-4 June: Gerhard Richter: New Paintings, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.

July: Paints mural of a reclining nude for Creamcheese, an artists' bar in Düsseldorf.

Summer: Richter appointed visiting professor at the Hamburg Art Academy (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg).

13-17 September: Kunstmarkt 67, the first Art Fair for Contemporary Art held in Cologne.

Detail of Shadow Picture (Schattenbild), CR: 209-8, 1968

12-19 September: Demonstrativ 67 – Richter, Lueg, Polke, Palermo and others take part in an exhibition in a window space rented from the publishers Dumont to protest at the exclusion of Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem from Kunstmarkt 67.

3 October-15 November: Hommage à Lidice, Galerie Rene Block, Berlin. An exhibition dedicated to the victims of the Nazi massacre of this Czech village – Richter shows Uncle Rudi, 1965 [CR: 85].

14 October-14 November: Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp presents Gerhard Richter, an overview of Richter's work from 1964-7.

21 October: Konrad Fischer (formerly Lueg) opens gallery at Neubrückstraße 12, Düsseldorf. (Richter would eventually go on to exhibit with Fischer during the 1970s and early 1980s.)

Detail of Himalaya (Himalaja), CR: 181, 1968

1968: Paints first Townscapes, Landscapes, Clouds, Mountains, Seascapes, Windows, Shadow Paintings, begins to paint over 'failed' paintings (Greys).

Travels to Corsica with Ema and Betty for a two-week holiday. The photographs he takes of the island's landscape become the subject of a series of canvases when he returns to the studio.

Detail of Coloured Grey (Bunt auf Grau), CR: 194-8, 1968

31 March: Contract with Friedrich expires; Richter chooses not to renew the agreement.

April: Collaboration with Polke, Transformation [Editions CR: 14].

5-15 April: Collaborative performance/exhibition project with Uecker, Living in the Museum, as part of the Young German Artists: 14 x 14 series at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. The two artists live in the museum, which becomes their 'studio and laboratory'. As part of the project, the pair stage a series of performances – Chases and Connections of Two Artists who Live in the Museum – and Richter exhibits Townscapes and Mountains for the first time.

Detail of Townscape Madrid (Stadtbild Madrid), CR: 171, 1968

July-October: Gerhard Richter, Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne.

Meets Robert Ryman (when Konrad Fischer exhibits his work).

1969: Paints Townscapes, Greys, Landscapes, Forests, Mountains, Seascapes and Constellations. Begins compiling Atlas.

Inventory of Pictures [Editions CR: 27], a six-page list and his first official inventory of works from 1962-69, introduces the numbering system used in his catalogue raisonné.

17 January-5 February: Gerhard Richter: Cities, Galerie René Block, Berlin.

Detail of Townscape Sa (Stadtbild Sa), CR: 219-1, 1969

27 March-22 April: First exhibition in a public institution: Gerhard Richter, Gegenverkehr e.V. Zentrum für aktuelle Kunst, Aachen, the largest exhibition of his work to date emphasises the range of Richter's practice.

24 May-29 June: Work exhibited in the United States for the first time: Nine Young Artists: Theodoron Awards, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

15 June-13 July: The Düsseldorf Scene, Kunstmuseum Lucerne.

1970: Paints Seascapes, Townscapes, Greys, Landscapes. Begins painting Details and Clouds. First collaboration with Palermo, Finger-marks [CR: 253], now destroyed.

Detail of Seascape (Contre-jour) [Seestück (Gegenlicht)], CR: 233, 1969

14 February-18 May: Represented by Alps II [CR: 213] in Now: The Arts in Germany Today at Kunsthalle, Cologne.

11 April-7 May: First exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.

14 April-5 May: Gerhard Richter – Townscapes, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.

I had fun at Fischer's, with these small beat-up paintings hanging close together.

[Elger 2009, p.180]

October: Submits, with Palermo, a joint proposal to install 1,350 glass windows in twenty-seven colours in the sports facilities for the Munich Olympics. However, by the time they submit the proposal, the building in question has been completed.

10 October-6 November: First collaborative exhibition with Palermo, For Salvador Dali, Galerie Ernst, Hannover – exhibits Details for the first time.

15-31 October: Gerhard Richter: Graphics 1965-1970, Museum Folkwang, Essen. Exhibits photographs and preparatory material (which would officially become Atlas in 1972).

November: Travels to New York with Palermo. During the trip they show their work to artists James Rosenquist and Robert Ryman.

Two Sculptures for a Room by Palermo (Zwei Skulpturen für einen Raum von Palermo), CR: 297-1, 1971

1971: Paints Landscapes, Details, Brigid Polk series [CR: 292, 305-309]. Returns to Colour Charts.

11 April-15 May: Exhibits Two Sculptures for a Room by Palermo [CR: 297-1] in Gerhard Richter, Blinky Palermo at Heiner Friedrich's new gallery in Cologne.

One doesn't make portraits like these, which look at each other with closed eyes, just for the fun of it or for tactical reasons. It had to be about something more significant, an admiration of the person and the painter Palermo, who made art despite the dominant Zeitgeist. At the time one felt quite isolated and was happy to find someone else who painted and thought in a similar way.

[Elger 2009, p.189]

22 June-22 August: First retrospective, Gerhard Richter: Paintings 1962 to 1971, at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf.

Summer: appointed Professor at Düsseldorf Art Academy.

8-17 October: Richter's film Volker Bradke featured in Prospect 71: Projection at Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf – an exhibition focusing entirely on film and photography, organised by Fischer and gallerist Hans Strelow.

By December: Begins working on 48 Portraits [CR: 324/1-48].

Detail of Inpainting (Grey) [Vermalung (grau)], CR: 326-2, 1972

1972: Paints Greys, first Inpaintings and Red-Blue-Yellow paintings; first uses vermalung technique.

Meets Benjamin Buchloh, who would become one of his most important interlocutors.

First publication of Atlas.

March-May: exhibits two untitled collaborative diptychs pairing Palermo's off-white monochromes with Richter's paintings of blurred light bulbs [CR: 303 and 304] at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne.

11 June-1 October: Exhibits 48 Portraits [CR: 324/1-48] for the first time in the German Pavilion at the 36th Venice Biennale. Also included in his presentation are Townscapes, Mountains, Clouds, and Green paintings. The exhibition catalogue is supplemented by an illustrated Painting Overview, a catalogue raisonné.

The plan to paint the 48 Portraits [was] very old ... When I received the invitation to go to Venice, it was immediately clear ... that the spatial conditions were ideal for this work.

[Elger 2009, p.194]

30 June-8 October: Jean-Christophe Ammann's section Questioning Reality – Image Worlds Today at documenta V, Kassel, features Eight Student Nurses [CR: 130] and three Colour Charts.

August: Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich, travels to Greenland on a ten-day Arctic cruise. The photographs that he takes eventually form the basis of a group of landscapes, e.g. Iceberg in Mist, 1982 [CR: 496-1].

December: shows Red-Blue-Yellow works at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.

1-30 December: Atlas exhibited for the first time at Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Utrecht.

December-January: Travels to Davos, Switzerland with Ema and Betty.

Detail of Blue (Blau), CR: 345-3, 1973

1973: Paints large Colour Charts, Greys, Red-Blue-Yellow paintings and a series of paintings after Titian's The Annunciation [CR: 343/1-2, 344/1-3].

Commissioned by BMW to produce three large-scale paintings for the company's new headquarters in Munich. Paints 3 x 6 m canvases Red, Yellow, Blue [CR: 345/1-3] from photographed details of stirred paint. In order to work on the vast canvases for the BMW commission, moves to a larger studio, also enabling him to make large Colour Charts.

23 May-1 July: Solo exhibition at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

15 September-15 November: Richter's first solo exhibition in New York at Reinhard Onnasch Gallery.

28 September-7 October: Along with Palermo, Polke and other German painters, included in Prospect 73: Maler, Painters, Peintres, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.

Detail of 256 Colours (256 Farben), CR: 352-2, 1974

1974: Continues with large Colour Charts and Greys.

The Grey Pictures were done at a time when there were monochrome paintings everywhere. I painted them nonetheless.

[Interview with Buchloh 1986, Richter 2009, p.178]

April-May: Exhibits Atlas at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.

4 December-12 January 1975: Gerhard Richter: Grey Pictures, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach.

1975: Continues with large Colour Charts and Greys. Returns to Seascapes. Paints Tourist series [CR: 368-370], based on photographs from magazine Der Stern of a tourist attacked by a lion in a Spanish safari park, and a series of works depicting the artists Gilbert & George [CR: 379-384].

Detail of Vesuvius (Vesuv), CR: 407, 1976

27 September-21 October: Solo exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf; exhibits Seascapes, Gilbert & George series, Tourist series, Greys and 1024 Colours.

30 November-18 January 1976: Retrospective Gerhard Richter: Paintings from 1962-1974 at Kunsthalle Bremen. Travels to Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels the following year.

25 April-22 June: Richter's Greys included in Fundamental Painting at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

1976: Continues to work on Greys, returns to Landscapes and Clouds. Begins to work on abstract sketches and 'Soft Abstracts'.

Detail of Abstract Painting (Abstraktes Bild), CR: 425-2, 1977

29 August-3 October: Exhibits Eight Grey [CR: 367/1-8] at Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, as part of Rooms: Document III.

1977: Makes glass constructions: Pane of Glass [CR: 415/1-2] and Double Pane of Glass [CR: 416]. Abstract Paintings including 'Soft Abstracts’, two paintings of his daughter Betty [CR: 425-4 and 425-5], Flowers.

Becomes reacquainted with the sculptor Isa Genzken, whom he had met in passing via Buchloh in the early 1970s.

1 February-21 March: Retrospective at the newly opened Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, curated by Benjamin Buchloh and Pontus Hulten.

Detail of Flowers (Blumen), CR: 425-3, 1977

June: documenta 6: two of Richters 'Soft Abstracts' [CR: 421 and 422] are selected for this controversial exhibition. Dissatisfied with the manner in which the works were exhibited, he submits a formal request that his paintings be moved, but when nothing happens, he takes them down himself and has them shipped back to his studio.

18 October: The ongoing confrontation between the West German state and the Red Army Faction, which had begun in the late 1960s, culminates in tragedy. Following the death of Holger Meins in 1975 from a hunger strike and Ulrike Meinhof, who was found hanged in her cell in 1976, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe are found dead in Stammheim Prison, Stuttgart. These events would, in 1988, become the subject of Richter's paintings-cycle October 18, 1977.

22 October-22 November: Exhibits Abstract Paintings including 'Soft Abstracts' at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.

Detail of Abstract Painting, CR: 432-5, 1978

1978: Paints Abstract Paintings, Clouds, and Abstract Painting [CR: 432-5], which he then photographs in detail from different angles, creating 128 Photographs of a Picture [CR: 441].

14 January-11 February: Exhibition of new paintings at Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

Summer: Visiting professor at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.

21 August-9 September: Exhibits 128 Photographs of a Picture [CR: 441] at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.

Detail of Abstract Painting (Abstraktes Bild), CR: 434, 1978

22 September-31 October: Gerhard Richter: 48 Portraits [CR: 324/1-48] shown at Midland Group Nottingham.

8 October-5 November: Exhibition of Abstract Paintings at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, which would travel on to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, the following year.

1979: Paints abstract pictures. Receives commission to create an artwork for a new vocational school in Soest, North Rhine-Westphalia and so begins work on the first of two large Stroke paintings [CR: 451, 452].

14 March-22 April: Richter's first solo exhibition in the UK, Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, curated by Nicholas Serota. Photo Paintings, Greys, Tourist series and Vesuvius landscapes added to the selection of Abstract Paintings that had travelled from Eindhoven.

In Whitechapel, things are going better than I thought; I had difficulties at home in planning for the nonmuseum rooms. But now that everything's hanging, I even like it a bit better than in Eindhoven. Somehow everything seems to be fresher and more colourful (and I am learning to understand the paintings more and more with time).

[Elger 2009, p.242]

May: Separates from Ema; later that year, moves in with Isa Genzken.

2-23 October: exhibits Halifax drawings as part of group show Palermo / Mario Merz / Gerhard Richter at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.

Detail of Faust, CR: 461, 1980

1980: Continues working on Stroke paintings [CR: 451 and 452] and smaller Abstract Paintings. Makes first squeegee painting [CR: 456-1]. Publishes artist's book, 128 Details from a Picture [Editions CR: 56].

Undertakes commission with Isa Genzken for an artwork for the underground station at König-Heinrich-Platz, Duisburg, a sequence of coloured panels and mirrors (not completed until 1992 due to construction delays).

For the overall design we are proceeding from the basis that the walls, pillars and other structures have a silver-grey, stainless steel surface. In addition, sheeting made of enamel and mirror glass should be used for visual enhancement ... For the artistic design, we have focused mainly on the level of the station platform, rather than the places that are usually chosen for public art incorporated into architecture, or Kunst am Bau.

[Description of design for König-Heinrich-Platz Underground Station, 1980 (together with Isa Genzken), Richter 2009, pp.116-7]

June-October: Exhibits two large Stroke paintings [CR: 451 and 452] at Museum Folkwang, Essen (June-August) and the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (September-October).

1981: Makes first Mirrors and first large format 'Wild Abstracts'. Paints a series of landscapes based on his photographs of Davos. Galleria Pieroni, Rome publishes Eis (Ice) [Editions CR: 58], an artist's book based on the photographs taken during his trip to Greenland in 1972.

Receives Arnold Bode Prize in Kassel.

Divorce from Ema finalised.

17 January-8 March: German Art Today, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris.

30 May-5 July: As part of his two-man exhibition with Georg Baselitz at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Richter exhibits Mirrors for first time.

It was a piece of showmanship. We were both sort of famous by that time, and it was as if we had to be put into the ring together.

[Quoted in Elger 2009, p.257]

15 January-18 March: Richter's work is included in A New Spirit in Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Detail of Candle (Kerze), CR: 511-3, 1982

1982: Continues painting 'Wild Abstracts' and Landscapes; begins painting Candles.

10 January-21 February: Exhibits new Abstract Paintings in the exhibition Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings 1976 to 1981 at Kunsthalle Bielefeld and 18 April-16 May at Mannheimer Kunstverein.

19 June-28 September: Exhibits five new large-format Abstract Paintings at documenta VII, including Yellow-Green [CR: 492], which were distributed through the exhibition in dialogue with work by other artists such Claes Oldenburg and Robert Mangold.

In a statement published in the catalogue, he describes abstract paintings as 'fictive models'.

When we describe a process, or make out an invoice, or photograph a tree, we create models; without them we would know nothing of reality and would be animals. Abstract pictures are fictive models, because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.

[Text for documenta VII catalogue, Kassel, 1982 in Richter 2009, p.121]

June: Marries Isa Genzken.

5 November-12 December: Exhibits Candles for first time at Max Hetzler Gallery, Stuttgart.

1983: Continues to paint Abstract Paintings, and Landscapes. Paints Candles and Skulls.

July: Last exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf. Shows Abstract Paintings and Two Candles [CR: 523-1].

Detail of Troisdorf, CR: 572-2, 1985

End of year: Moves from Düsseldorf to Cologne.

1984: Returns to watercolours after six years. Paints Landscapes and Abstract Paintings, experimenting with the relationship between the two.

First separation from Isa Genzken.

1 January-29 February: Exhibition of Abstract Paintings at Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, Saint Etienne.

14 January-2 March: First exhibition of watercolours at Galerie Thomas Borgmann, Cologne.

Detail of Abstract Painting (Abstraktes Bild), CR: 584-1, 1985

28 September-2 December: In From Here: Two Months of New German Art in Düsseldorf, Messegelände, Düsseldorf, Richter shows Abstract Paintings and Landscapes. As a result of this exhibition, curated by Kasper König, he finally breaks into the international art market.

12 October-25 November: Represented in Upheavels, Manifestos, Manifestations: Positions in Art at the Beginning of the 1960s in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.

1985: Continues with Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.

Awarded Oskar Kokoschka Prize in Vienna.

5 March-26 March: Double exhibition in New York jointly organised by Sperone Westwater Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery. Richter’s first exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery.

Detail of Abstract Painting (Abstraktes Bild), CR: 610-1, 1986

1986: Begins making Overpainted Photographs.

Continues with Abstract Paintings and Landscapes including a series of works where he uses the squeegee over landscapes. Works on Mirrors. Undertakes a commission for Victoria insurance company, producing two 6 x 4 m abstract canvases [CR: 601 and 602].

18 January-23 March: First large-scale touring retrospective Gerhard Richter: Paintings 1962-1985 at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Tours to Berlin, Bern and Vienna.

December: Returns to Dresden for the first time in twenty-five years to attend the opening of the exhibition Positions: Painting from the Federal Republic of Germany at the Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, which included his work as well as works by Uecker and Polke(10 December-12 January 1987).

13 December-17 January 1987: Shows work dating back to 1964 at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

1987: Paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.

February: Publishes his artist’s notes for the first time on the occasion of the exhibition Gerhard Richter: Works on Paper 1983–1986, Museum Overholland, Amsterdam (20 February-20 April).

5 March-4 April: Joint exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

October: Kasper König becomes director of Städelschule, Frankfurt Art Academy, in Frankfurt am Main and appoints Richter as a visiting professor, a position he takes up the following year.

Detail of Cell (Zelle), CR: 670, 1988

1988: Works on October 18, 1977, a cycle of fifteen paintings depicting members of the Baader-Meinhof group.

I had kept a number of photographs for years, under the heading of unfinished business. It’s hard to say how it came about that in late 1987 my interest revived and so I got hold of some more photographs and had the idea of painting the subject.

[Conversation with Jan Thorn-Prikker, 1989 concerning the 18 October 1977 cycle, Richter 2009, p.226]

Paints Betty [CR: 663-5], a portrait of his daughter. Also paints squeegee abstracts, a series of still-life paintings and a series of works with the title Blech [CR: 681/A-K and 681/1-30].

Awarded the Kaiserring der Stadt Goslar Art Prize.

11 March-16 April: Gerhard Richter: The London Paintings at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London.

For the next ten years, d'Offay would be Richter's main dealer in Europe.

29 April-10 July: First large-scale retrospective in Canada and the United States opens at Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and travels on to Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

1989: Paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.

12 February-9 April: First exhibition of October 18, 1977 [CR: 667–674], Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, sparks controversy across Germany. The cycle was then shown at Portikus, Frankfurt am Main; Institute for Contemporary Art, London and as part of an extensive exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, which also included Greys and recent squeegee abstracts.

Deadly reality, inhuman reality. Our rebellion. Impotence. Failure. Death. - That is why I paint these pictures.

[Notes for a press conference November-December 1988, held at Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, February 1989, reproduced in Richter 2009, p.203]

20 May-28 August: Richter's work is featured in Art from Cologne at Tate Gallery, Liverpool.

2 August-22 October: Atlas exhibited at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

9 November: Demolition of the Berlin Wall begins.

Detail of Abstract Painting (Abstraktes Bild), CR: 724-4, 1990

1990: Continues making Abstract Paintings including the first Forest series [CR: 731-734]; portraits of Isa Genzken [CR: 717/5-7].

October 18, 1977 shown across the United States and Canada: Saint Louis Art Museum; Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York; Musée des Beaux-arts, Montréal; Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles.

3-24 February: Exhibits simultaneously at Sperone Westwater Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

3 October: Reunification of Germany formally concluded.

1991: Makes Coloured Mirrors (including a commission for Hypovereinsbank, Düsseldorf), Grey Mirrors, Abstract Paintings.

30 October-12 January 1992: First UK retrospective, Tate Gallery, London.

22 April-17 June: Gerhard Richter: Mirrors exhibition at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, includes Mirrors, 4 Panes of Glass [CR: 160], Two Sculptures for a Room by Palermo [CR: 297-3] and Betty [CR: 663-5].

Detail of Flowers (Blumen), CR: 764-2, 1992

1992: Makes Abstract Paintings and Grey Mirrors.

Meets Sabine Moritz, a student at Düsseldorf Art Academy.

13 June-20 September: His paintings for documenta IX, including Abstract Paintings and Grey Mirrors, are represented in a wood panelled room. In addition, Flowers [CR: 764-2] is shown.

1993: Paints I.G. series [CR: 790/1-5], Abstract Paintings. Richter's writings published in German - Gerhard Richter: Text, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Final separation from Isa Genzken.

March edition of Parkett (No. 35) dedicated to Richter.

23 September-21 November: Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Paris hosts the fullest retrospective to date of Richter's work, curated by Kasper König. Travels to Bonn, Stockholm and Madrid. In conjunction with the exhibition, Buchloh edits a new catalogue raisonné, reproducing all of the accepted paintings up to CR: 794-2 to 1:50 scale.

24 October-21 November: Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965-1993, Kunsthalle Bremen accompanied by a new catalogue raisonné of Richter's editions compiled by Hubertus Butin.

Detail of Reader (Lesende), CR: 804, 1994

1994: Paints Abstract Paintings and portraits of Sabine Moritz: Reader [CR: 799-1 and 804] and Small Bather [CR: 815-1].

Resigns from position as professor at Düsseldorf Art Academy.

November: Meets Robert Storr for the first time.

1995: paints Abstract Paintings, Flowers, S. with Child series [CR: 827/1-8].

Writings published in English as The Daily Practice of Painting: Writings and Interviews, 1962-1993.

Receives the Wolf Prize in Arts, Jerusalem.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires October 18, 1977.

Marries Sabine Moritz.

January: Birth of son Moritz.

25 February-27 April: First exhibition of Atlas in the United States at Dia:Chelsea, Dia Art Foundation, New York.

1 June-4 August: Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.

1996: Paints Abstract Paintings and Self-Portraits. First use of aluminium composite surfaces.

Birth of daughter Ella Maria.

June: Moves into new home and studio in Hahnwald, Cologne that he designed with the architect Thies Marwede.

15 June-15 September: Shows S. with Child series [CR: 827/1-8] for the first time in Gerhard Richter: 100 Pictures at Carré d'Art, Museé d' Art Contemporain de Nîmes.

1997: Paints Abstract Paintings, Landscapes, Flowers, Demo [CR: 848-3], Torso [CR: 844-1] and Head (Sketch) [CR: 844-2].

Receives Golden Lion at 47th Venice Biennale.

Awarded Praemium Imperiale, Tokyo.

21 June-28 September: Exhibits Atlas at documenta X, Kassel.

7 September-11 January: Exhibits Betty [CR: 663-5] and October 18, 1977 in Images of Germany: Art from a Divided Country, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.

Detail of Abstract Painting, Rhombus (Abstraktes Bild, Rhombus), CR: 851-1, 1998

1998: Paints Abstract Paintings, Rhombus series [CR: 851/1-6] and Seascapes.

Awarded a number of prizes including the Wexner Prize, a Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Staatspreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.

August: Suffers a stroke in his studio.

11 September-22 October: exhibits Rhombus series [CR: 851/1-6] and Abstract Paintings from 1994-98 at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.

16 December-14 March: Atlas and Its Pictures, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

1999: Paints Abstract Paintings, Landscapes.

Early 1999: Installation of Richter’s Black, Red, Gold [CR: 856] in the foyer of the Reichstag building in Berlin, newly reconstructed to mark the reunification of Germany.

I wasn’t commissioned to depict the German flag. I was stimulated by the theme, even though Palermo existed and that famous flag by Jasper Johns. I also once had a 1 x 1 metre version of the flag in my living room, but that didn’t work; it was too intrusive, having to look at this black, red and gold all the time.

[Interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, November 2006, Richter 2009, p.524]

9 September-4 November: Gerhard Richter: The Complete Editions, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.

Detail of Moritz, CR: 863-1, 2000

2000: Paints Abstract Paintings, Flowers, Court Chapel, Dresden, a self-portrait with Benjamin H.D. Buchloh [CR: 865-3], portraits of his son, Moritz [CR: 863/1-3].

Begins a series of editions Bridge 14 FEB 45 [Editions CR: 113-115] based on an aerial photograph of Cologne taken from an American plane following the Allied bombardment of the city on that date.

A friendly printer had given me a 60-year-old photo which fascinated me greatly. It was an aerial view of the southern part of Cologne taken by the US Air Force in February '45, with a ruined bridge and countless bomb craters.

[Interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, November 2006, Richter 2009, p.524]

26 July: Reads article First look into the inside of an atom in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which has an accompanying photograph showing a kind of indistinct blur. This strikes a chord with his conceptual approach to painting, and leads him to make the edition First View (Erster Blick) [Editions CR: 112].

22 September–5 November: Initiates Übersicht, a long-term travelling 'survey' exhibition of his editions, at Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V., Stuttgart.

2001: Paints Abstract Paintings and Juist [CR: 875-1]. Makes mirror version of Eight Grey [CR: 874/1-8].

10 June-4 November: Shows Rhombus series of Abstract Paintings [CR: 851/1-6] at 49th Venice Biennale.

11 September: Series of coordinated attacks on America by terrorist group al-Qaeda using four commercial passenger planes. The attack on the World Trade Center, New York, would become the subject of his painting September [CR: 891-5].

December: Richter is honoured by the city of Cologne and invited to enter his name in the city's Golden Book.

2002: Makes Panes of Glass and Standing Panes.

Detail of Silicate (Silikat), CR: 885-1, 2003

Richter is invited by the metropolitan chapter of Cologne Cathedral to design a stained-glass window to replace the one in the south transept destroyed during the Second World War.

14 February-20 May: Major retrospective, Forty Years of Painting, curated by Robert Storr, opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition travels to the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modem Art and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.

2003: Makes Silicate paintings [CR: 883-7 and 885/1-4], Greys, Sils Maria [CR: 882-1] and 11 Panes [CR: 886/1-2].

6 December-14 March: Exhibits Atlas at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.

Detail of September, CR: 891-5, 2005

2004: Paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes. Makes Strontium [CR: 888] and three more versions of 11 Panes [CR: 886/3-5]. Makes War Cut [Editions CR: 124 and 125]: Photographs 216 details of Abstract Painting [CR: 648-2] from 1987 and combines these images with text about the Iraq War taken from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

August: The Albertinum, Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden opens three rooms dedicated to Richter's work.

2005: Paints second Forest series [CR: 892/1-12] and September [CR: 891-5].

The Gerhard Richter Archive is established at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.

Detail of Haggadah, CR: 895-10, 2006

4 February-29 May: Gerhard Richter: Image after Image, Louisiana Museum of Modem Art, Humlebæk.

12 February-16 May: Major retrospective at K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Second volume of the catalogue raisonné is produced in conjunction with the exhibition.

17 November-14 January: shows Silicate paintings [CR: 883-7 and 885/1-4] and Forest series [CR: 892/1-12] at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

2006: Paints Cage series [CR: 897/1-6], White Paintings and Haggadah [CR: 895-10].

Richter's second son Theodor is born.

Detail of 4900 Colours (4900 Farben), CR: 902, 2007

2007: Cologne Cathedral Window [CR: 900] is completed. Enamel on Aludibond series 25 Colours; paints a portrait of his daughter, Ella [CR: 903-1].

25 August: Dedication of the Cologne Cathedral Window. Inspired by his Colour Chart paintings it consists of around 11,500 mouth-blown glass squares in seventy-two different colours. To mark the occasion, Museum Ludwig, Cologne exhibits Gerhard Richter: Chance — 4900 Colours and Designs for the Cologne Cathedral Window.

In early 2002, the master builder of the cathedral suggested that I develop a glass design for the southern window. The guiding principle was the representation of six martyrs, in keeping with the period. I was, of course, very touched to have such an honour bestowed upon me, but I soon realized that I wasn't at all qualified for the task. After several unsuccessful attempts to get to grips with the subject, and prepared finally to concede failure, I happened upon a large representation of my painting with 4,096 colours. I put the template for the window design over it and saw that this was the only possibility. I wrote to the master builder, telling her that I would send her a draft anyway – one that, to me, seemed like the only viable way to design the window.

[Notes for a Press Conference 2006, Richter 2009, p.518]

10 June-21 November: Exhibits Cage paintings [CR: 897/1-6] at 52nd Venice Biennale.

Detail of Sinbad (Sindbad), CR: 905-9, 2008

2008: Produces Abstract Paintings. Makes Sinbad series [CR: 905/1-100], using enamel on the back of glass.

19 January-4 May: Gerhard Richter: Paintings from Private Collections, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden travels to the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh at the end of the year.

26 January-1 March: Shows September [CR: 891-5] for the first time at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris.

February: Opening of the Cage Paintings room at Tate Modern, London.

23 September-23 November: Gerhard Richter: 4900 Colours, Serpentine Gallery, London.

17 October-18 January 2009: First exhibition of Overpainted Photographs, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen.

2009: Paints Abstract Paintings.

A number of major exhibitions, including:

30 January-3 May: Gerhard Richter: Retrospective, Albertina, Vienna.

26 February-31 May: Gerhard Richter: Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London.

27 February-17 May: Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings, Haus der Kunst, Munich.

7 March- 1 June: Richter in France, Musée de Grenoble.

7 November-9 January: Gerhard Richter: Abstract Paintings, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

2010: Continues making enamel-behind-glass paintings.

June: Reopening of the Albertinum in Dresden including two rooms dedicated to Richter.

Detail of Strip, CR: 920-1, 2011

2011: Richter creates his first 'Strip' paintings.

5 February–15 May: Gerhard Richter: Images of an Era, Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg.

6 October–8 January 2012: Gerhard Richter: Panorama, Tate Modern, London.

2012: 12 February–13 May: Gerhard Richter: Panorama, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

6 June–24 September: Gerhard Richter: Panorama, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris.

2013: Richter creates new glass sculptures including 7 Panes (House of Cards) [CR: 932-2] and 12 Panes [CR: 931-2].

12 March–08 September: Gerhard Richter. Elbe, November und andere. Eine Präsentation im Rahmen der Sammlung, Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

14 September–05 January 2014: Gerhard Richter. Strips and Glass, Galerie Neue Meister, Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dresden.

23 October–09 February 2014: Gerhard Richter: Atlas – Mikromega, Kunstbau München, Munich.

2014: 18 January–21 April: Gerhard Richter: Strips and Glass, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur.

18 January–27 July: Gerhard Richter: From Elbe to November: Works on Paper from the Collection, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur.

15 February–09 March: Gerhard Richter – Art in the Plural, K20 Grabbeplatz, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf.

18 May–07 September: Gerhard Richter: Pictures/Series, Fondation Beyeler, Basel-Riehen.

25 May–07 September: Gerhard Richter: Grey & 180 Colours, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach.

14 October–20 December: Gerhard Richter, Marian Goodman Gallery, London.

14 November–22 February 2015: Gerhard Richter. Ausschnitt, Neues Museum, Nürnberg




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