Richter is born in Dresden and grows up in Reichenau and Waltersdorf in the east of Germany.
1948 – 51
When he leaves school Richter studies stage and billboard painting in Zittau.
1952 – 57
Accepted into Dresden Art Academy (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden). He studies free painting and, later, mural painting. For his graduation project he paints a large-scale mural for the Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Dresden in Social Realist tradition. The academy awards Richter a distinction and a studio at the academy for three years. He marries Marianne (Ema) Eufinger in 1957.
Visits documenta 2 in Kassel and is impressed by the abstract paintings of Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana. The trip is arranged by Arnold Bode, whose portrait Richter paints in 1964 (CR: 33).
On the way home from a trip to Moscow and Leningrad, Richter stores his luggage in West Berlin. He and Ema then leave East Germany for Berlin shortly before the Berlin Wall is erected in August 1961.
They settle in Düsseldorf and Richter studies under Karl Otto Götz at the Kunstakademie, where he meets Konrad Lueg (later known as Konrad Fischer), Sigmar Polke and Blinky Palermo.
Richter exhibits for the first time in the West. He later destroys many of the paintings he showed there and begins to make paintings using photographs as source images. Richter paints Table after a photograph in a magazine and gives it the number 1 in his self-organised catalogue raisonné.
Richter sees Pop Art works in reproduction for the first time.
Exhibition Leben Mit Pop: Eine Demonstration für den Kapitalistischen Realismus at Möbelhaus Berges, Düsseldorf. The exhibition is a piece of performance art and takes place in a furniture store.
Richter travels to Paris with Konrad Lueg to show their work to gallerist Ileana Sonnabend; they present themselves without success as the new German Pop Artists.
Richter sees an exhibition of work by Marcel Duchamp.
Richter has his first solo exhibitions at Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich, Galerie Alfred Schmela in Düsseldorf and Galerie René Block in Berlin.
Richter paints Cow (CR: 15), Pyramids, Sphinxes and Curtains.
Richter creates his first print, Dog in an edition of 8.
Daughter, Betty, is born.
Exhibits with Polke at Galerie h, Hannover.
Begins to paint Colour Charts. These pictures look like a housepainter’s colour charts and are a combination of both Pop Art and Minimalism. The first Colour Charts are exhibited a year later in Munich.
Richter becomes guest professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg.
He begins to paint grey monochrome paintings.
He receives the Junger Westen art prize from the town of Recklinghausen.
Makes Four Panes of Glass (CR: 160).
Richter paints Townscapes, Shadow Paintings and Landscapes.
His style defies categorisation because he paints both abstract and figurative works. He begins to paint from photographs he has taken himself. He also begins a documented revision of material that he used: Atlas is an ongoing collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, sketches, designs and postcards that has been exhibited in its own right.
Richter’s work is exhibited in New York with eight other artist’s in Nine Young Artists: Theodoron Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Richter travels to New York with Palermo. Richter’s work is shown in numerous exhibitions.
Paints more Grey Pictures and Clouds.
Begins teaching at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.
Richter’s represents West Germany at the 36th Bienniale in Venice, where he shows 48 Portraits. These works depict famous cultural and scientific figures, painted from photographs taken from an encyclopedia.
Participates in documenta 5, Kassel.
Exhibits Atlas, an ongoing collection of photographs, collages, and drawings in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
1973 – 4
Richter paints Annunciation After Titian (CR: 343/1-2, 344/1-3) and large Colour Charts.
First one-man show in New York at the Reinhard Onnasch Gallery.
Atlas exhibited at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.
Richter paints more large Colour Charts and Grey pictures.
Paints Tourist Pictures (CR: 368-370-1), Seascapes, and portraits of Gilbert & George.
He meets Isa Genzken, a sculptress he later marries.
Richter is asked to be a guest professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada.
Richter’s Abstract Paintings are exhibited at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
Richter is awarded the Arnold Bode Prize.
His abstract paintings begin to undergo a startling change in technique and colour. His paintings are exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, in an exhibition called A New Spirit in Painting.
His first Mirrors are exhibited at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.
Marries Isa Genzken.
Participates in documenta 7, Kassel, and receives Arnold-Bode-Preis
1983 – 4
Moves from Düsseldorf and settles in Cologne where he has remained since.
Receives Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Vienna.
Participates in the exhibition German Art in the Twentieth Century: Painting and Sculpture 1905-1985, Royal Academy of Art, London.
Richter paints Landscapes and continues with his work in abstracts.
The artist’s notes are first published in the exhibition catalogue Werken op Papier – 1983-1986, Museum Overholland, Amsterdam. Richter has his first retrospective which goes to Berlin, Bern and Vienna.
Paints Landscapes and Abstracts.
Guest Professor at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main.
Paintings retrospective exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.
Exhibition The London Paintings held at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.
Paints the Baader-Meinhof pictures, October 18, 1977. These paintings, depicting members of the Baader-Meinhof group in the 1970s, shock the German nation.
October 18, 1977 is exhibited at Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Saint Louis Art Museum, Grey Art Gallery in New York, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Lannan Foundation in Los Angeles and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Boston.
Paints Betty (CR 663-5) – a portrait of his daughter.
He paints the abstract series Breath, Course, River and Rock (CR: 691-694) and shortly after another iconic series: January, December and November (CR: 699-701).
Richter has two shows simultaneously in New York at the Marian Goodman Gallery and at the Sperone Westwater Gallery.
Retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London.
Mirrors exhibition at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.
Creates a room of paintings, including the painting Flowers (CR: 764-2) for documenta 9 Kassel.
1993 – 4
Major retrospective exhibition at Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Bonn, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Richter paints the I.G. series (CR: 790/1-5).
The March issue of art magazine Parkett is dedicated to Richter.
Richter resigns from the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Richter receives the Wolf Prize in Arts, Jerusalem.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires October 18, 1977.
Painting in the Nineties exhibition at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London. Atlas is exhibited at the Dia Centre for the Arts in New York.
Marries Sabine Moritz. Their son, Moritz, is born.
Richter paints the mother and child series called S. with Child (CR: 827/1-8).
His daughter, Ella Maria, is born.
Richter moves to a new home and studio, situated in the outskirts of Cologne.
He paints self-portraits (CR: 836/1-2).
Wins the prestigious Golden Lion at the 47th Biennale in Venice and the Praemium Imperial award in Tokyo.
Richter exhibits Atlas at documenta 10 in Kassel.
1998 – 1999
Richter is awarded more prizes including the Wexner Award, Columbus, Ohio; a foreign honorary membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and the Staatspreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.
In 1998 he paints the Abstract Painting, Rhombus series (CR: 851/1-6), Abstract Paintings and Seascapes.
In 1999 he paints Snow (CR: 861-2), Farm (CR: 861-1) and abstracts.
In 2000 he paints his son, Moritz (CR: 863/1-3), abstracts and a double portrait with Benjamin Buchloh (CR: 865-3).
Richter undertakes a portrait of his son, Moritz [863/1-3], a series of abstract works and a portrait of himself with Benjamin Buchloh [CR 665-7].
The Survey exhibition, a succinct retrospective of Richter’s oeuvre over just 27 works, opens in Stuttgart, Germany. Toured internationally, it does not close until 2013.
At the 49th Venice Biennale, Richter’s series Abstract Painting, Rhombus is shown as part of Harald Szeemann’s Plateau of Humankind.
In December he is honoured by the city of Cologne by entering his name in Cologne’s Golden Book.
2002 – 3
The Museum of Modern Art in New York holds the largest retrospective to date, 40 Years of Painting. This exhibition is important for many reasons, one of which is that it rejected the argument of Richter’s work as deconstructivist in favour of a more historically conscious understanding. The exhibition travels to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC.
The Albertinum in Dresden opens three rooms dedicated to Richter’s art.
The German business magazine Capital nominates Richter as the most important artist in the world on the influential Kunst-Kompass.
Receives the Katholischer Kunst und Kulturpreis, Bonn.
The exhibition Image after Image is shown at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark.
The exhibition Gerhard Richter is shown at the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf. This exhibition then travels to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan and the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, also in Japan.
His son, Theodor, is born.
Richter paints the Cage series (CR: 897/1-6).
A new stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral, designed by Richter, is completed. Richter’s design for the 20 metre-tall window of the south transept of the cathedral was inspired by his 1974 painting 4,096 Colours (CR: 359) and consists of around 11,500 glass squares in 72 different colours, measuring apx 10 x 10 cm.
First exhibition of overpainted photographs, held in Leverkusen.
Creates Sinbad (CR: 905/1-100), using enamel on the back of glass.
Ranked most influential artist in the Kunst-Kompass by Manager Magazin for the fifth consecutive year.
Major exhibitions in London, Munich, Grenoble, Vienna and Duisburg.
Survey exhibition in Bolivia and Chile.
Richter’s work is shown for the first time within the programme of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour, a travelling initiative curated by Tate Galleries, UK to promote contemporary art nationwide.
Reopening of the Albertinum in Dresden including two rooms dedicated to Richter.
Creates further series of work using enamel on the back of glass: Aladdin (CR: 913/1-42 and 915), Baghdad (CR: 914), Perizade (CR: 916) and Abdallah (CR: 917).
Images of an Era at Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg.
Richter conceives a new series of work: the digital printworks Strips.
Corinna Belz’ film portrait of Richter is screened in cinemas worldwide.
The major retrospective Gerhard Richter: Panorama opens at Tate Modern, London.
An important exhibition of Atlas opens at the Albertinum, Dresden.
Gerhard Richter: Panorama travels to Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Richter works on Flow, several works of enamel on back of glass mounted on alu dibond.
The Lenbachhaus, Munich presents all 802 plates of Atlas, marking the 17th year since they had begun to collate the series.
Other relevant exhibitions open at Cologne Museum Ludwig, the Albertinum, and Dresden. The presentation shown in Dresden travels to the Kunstmuseum, Winterthur in 2014.
Major exhibitions open at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel, and Neues Museum, Nuremberg. Having acquired 29 Richter works from the Böckmann Collection on permanent loan, the Neues Museum now holds the third largest Richter collection internationally.
Richter curates a new hanging of his works at the Albertinum, Dresden, including the debuts of four large-sized works, Abstract Painting [CR 937/1-4]
Richter is ranked the most influential artist in the Kunstkompass by the magazine Weltkunst for the tenth time in eleven years.
Having met initially in 2013, Richter and composer Arvo Pärt curate a collective exhibition at the Manchester International Festival in July, combining the disciplines of contemporary art and music.