1932: 9 February: Gerhard Richter is born in Dresden to Hildegard Richter, a bookseller, and Horst Richter, a school teacher.
1933: 30 January: Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor.
1936: the Richter family moves to Reichenau, a town close to Dresden, today known as Bogatynia in Poland. Richter's sister Gisela is born.
1939: 1 September: the German invasion of Poland begins; Horst is drafted in to the military and sent to the Eastern Front.
1942: Richter joins the Pimpfe, an organisation that prepares children to join the Hitler Youth.
1943: Hildegard and the children move to rural Waltersdorf to evade the growing dangers of the Second World War. Horst is transferred to the Western Front where he is captured by the Allies and detained as prisoner of war.
1944: Richter's uncle Rudi is killed in the war; he will become the subject of the photo painting Uncle Rudi [CR: 85] in 1965.
1945: Richter's aunt Marianne dies. She is killed as part of the Nazi eugenics programme, and Richter will make a photo painting of her and himself as a baby, Aunt Marianne [CR: 87], in 1965.
February: the allied aerial bombings leave Dresden in ruins.
8 May: the Second World War officially comes to an end.
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 how to develop photographs, a skill that will prove useful throughout his career.
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. Around the age of 15, Richter draws regularly. One of his early sketches, from 1946, is a nude figure that he copies from a book. He enrols in a trade school in Zittau where he learns stenography, typing and bookkeeping. He befriends Hans Lillig, a mural painter active in Waltersdorf who teaches classes at the local high school.
1947: Richter attends night school to study painting.
1948: he receives his trade-school diploma.
1949: Richter becomes an apprentice at a organization that produces political banners for the GDR government.
7 October: the German Democratic Republic (GDR) is founded.
1950: starting in February, Richter works as an assistant set painter at the municipal theatre in Zittau for around six months.
August: he decides to become a professional artist and applies, unsuccessfully, to the 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 at DEWAG in Zittau.
1951: he reapplies to Dresden Art Academy and this time is accepted. He 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, through the rubble, about two kilometres there and back.
[Dietmar Elger: Gerhard Richter, Painter, 2009, pp.10-11]
September: after enrolling 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 Dietmar Elger, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gerhard Richter: Gerhard Richter. Text, 2009, p.511]
1953: he joins the mural painting class held by Heinz Lohmar.
1955: Richter paints The Supper, a mural in the Academy dining room and stages two performative photographs with his artist friends Joachim Jastram and Alfred Thomalla: Madness and Hanging.
Summer: he travels to Hamburg and Munich and visits Paris.
December: he is assigned the mural project for the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum.
1956: Richter 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.
He 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: he creates Elbe, a series of thirty-one monotypes.
June: Richter marries Marianne 'Ema' Eufinger in West Germany.
1958: Richter attends the Universal Exhibition in Brussels.
1959: he completes a mural for the headquarters of the Socialist Unity Party in Dresden, Workers Uprising.
Summer: he visits the documenta II in Kassel, where he is impressed by the work of painters Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana and 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, he 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: Richter decides to defect with Ema to Western Germany. He, thus, travels to Russia, carrying more luggage than needed. On the journey back, he remains on the train to West Germany, where he gets off and leaves a bag in storage. He returns to Dresden to meet Ema. The couple drives to East Berlin and take the underground train to the West where they declare themselves refugees on arrival.
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: he immerses himself in the new art scene. By mounting photos of the works he had made during his time in Dresden and adding them to a portfolio, he symbolically puts an end to his creative period in the GDR. He experiments with Informel and applies to Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he joins the class of Ferdinand Macketanz.
13 August: the construction of the Berlin Wall begins.
1962: Richter produces his first Photo Paintings and finalises Table [CR: 1], which would later become the first entry in his 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: He is 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: he transfers to Karl Otto Götz's class along with Lueg and Polke.
8-30 September: his first group exhibition M. Kuttner – G. Richter: Düsseldorf, takes place at Galerie Junge Kunst, Fulda. After the display, he burns the works he had shown.
1963: January: this month's edition of Art International introduces Richter and his friends to Pop Art.
February: during the annual student review exhibition, Lueg makes Richter aware of Blinky Palermo's work. Palermo and Richter would meet at the Kunstakademie later this year.
Spring: Richter travels to Paris with Lueg; they introduce themselves to Parisian galleries as 'German Pop artists' and see works by Roy Lichtenstein at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend.
11-26 May: the exhibition Kuttner, Lueg, Polke, Richter is presented in an abandoned storefront at 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 is staged. For this 'demonstration' in a furniture showroom the two artists hang their works alongside furniture showcased on plinths and present 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]
1964: he begins to use a projector to make photo paintings and makes his first curtain paintings.
February: the third and final show at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf is held. Along with Polke, Lueg and Kuttner, he drives to Wuppertal and installs his 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. Richter's work is presented alongside works by Peter Klasen.
July: he leaves the Academy and attends the Fluxus Festival at the Technische Hochschule, Aachen.
9-30 September: his first solo exhibition, Gerhard Richter at Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf is organised.
16 September-5 November: he participates in the 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]
1965: Richter paints Uncle Rudi [CR: 85] and the curtain works. He creates his first multiple, Dog, in an edition of eight. Simultaneously, he begins using his own photographs as source material for photo paintings.
Summer: he visits the 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: Richter begins collaborating with Polke. Together they co-author the artist's book polke/richter - richter/polke (Richter's first) 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.
1966: he paints his first Colour Charts and Ema [CR: 134], the first work based on one of his own colour photographs. Furthermore, he continues to paint curtains and begins a 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.
September: Richter 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 Richter's 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: his first Colour Charts are exhibited with Heiner Friedrich. Gerhard Richter: Colour Charts, Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich.
December: Hommage à Schmela, a series of solo exhibitions takes place at Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf. Richter's Portrait Schmela, 1964 [CR: 37-3] is part of Lueg's presentation. 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: Richter's first daughter Babette (Betty) is born.
1967: Richter paints several new subjects like Corrugated Iron, Tubes, Doors, Photo Paintings of pornographic images and his Large Curtain [CR: 163-1]. He also fashions his first glass construction, 4 Panes of Glass [CR: 160].
He wins the Junger Westen art prize, Recklinghausen.
2 May-4 June: Gerhard Richter: New Paintings, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.
July: Richter paints a mural of a reclining nude for Creamcheese, an artists' bar in Düsseldorf.
Summer: Richter is 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 is held in Cologne.
3 October-15 November: Hommage à Lidice, Galerie Rene Block, Berlin. The exhibition is dedicated to the victims of the Nazi massacre of the Czech village. Richter shows Uncle Rudi, 1965 [CR: 85] the painting that shows his uncle in uniform.
14 October-14 November: Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp presents Gerhard Richter, an overview of Richter's work from 1964-67.
21 October: Konrad Fischer (formerly Lueg) opens his gallery at Neubrückstraße 12, Düsseldorf. Richter would eventually go on to exhibit with Fischer during the 1970s and early 1980s.
1968: he paints the first Townscapes, Landscapes, Clouds, Mountains, Seascapes, Windows and Shadow Paintings and begins to paint over 'failed' paintings (Greys).
Richter, Ema and Betty travel to Corsica 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.
31 March: the contract with Friedrich expires. Richter chooses not to renew the agreement.
April: Richter collaborated with Polke again, which results in the edition Transformation [Editions CR: 14].
5-15 April: in a collaborative performance project called Living in the Museum, Richter and Uecker transform the exhibition space of the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden into a 'studio and laboratory'. Chases and Connections of Two Artists who Live in the Museum is part of this Young German Artists: 14 x 14 series. Richter exhibits Townscapes and Mountains for the first time.
July-October: Gerhard Richter, Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne.
Richter meets Robert Ryman when Konrad Fischer exhibits his work.
1969: he paints Townscapes, Greys, Landscapes, Forests, Mountains, Seascapes and Constellations. Moreover, he begins compiling Atlas.
Richters starts organising his body of work by introducing a numeric system and drafting a first version of the catalogue raisonné. Inventory of Pictures [Editions CR: 27] is a six-page list and his first official inventory of works from 1962-69.
17 January-5 February: Gerhard Richter: Cities, Galerie René Block, Berlin.
27 March-22 April: Richter has his 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 on the range of Richter's practice.
24 May-29 June: his work is 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, Switzerland.
1970: Richter works on Seascapes, Townscapes, Greys, Landscapes and begins working on Details and Clouds. He collaborates with Palermo for the first time which results in the work Finger-marks [CR: 253], now destroyed.
14 February-18 May: Richter is represented in Now: The Arts in Germany Today at Kunsthalle, Cologne with Alps II [CR: 213].
11 April-7 May: he has his 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: together with Palermo, Richter submits a proposal to install 1,350 glass windows in twenty-seven colours in the sports facilities for the Munich Olympics. However, by the time they hand in the proposal, the building in question has already been completed.
10 October-6 November: the first collaborative exhibition with Palermo, For Salvador Dali, Galerie Ernst, Hannover is organised where Richter exhibits the Details for the first time.
15-31 October: Gerhard Richter: Graphics 1965-1970, Museum Folkwang, Essen. He exhibits photographs and preparatory material which would officially become Atlas in 1972.
November: Richter undertakes a journey to New York with Palermo. During the trip they show their work to artists James Rosenquist and Robert Ryman.
1971: He paints Landscapes, Details and the Brigid Polk [CR: 292, 305-309] while also returning to the Colour Charts.
11 April-15 May: He 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: the first retrospective, Gerhard Richter: Paintings 1962 to 1971, at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf is organised.
Summer: Richter is appointed Professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy.
8-17 October: Richter's film Volker Bradke is 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, Richter begins working on the 48 Portraits [CR: 324/1-48].
1972: Richter paints Greys, the first Inpaintings and the Red-Blue-Yellow paintings; first uses vermalung technique.
He meets Benjamin Buchloh, who would become one of his most important interlocutors.
The Atlas is published for the first time.
March-May: he 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: The 48 Portraits [CR: 324/1-48] are exhibitied 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 5, Kassel, features Eight Student Nurses [CR: 130] and three Colour Charts.
August: inspired by Caspar David Friedrich Richter 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: he shows his Red-Blue-Yellow works at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.
1-30 December: Atlas is exhibited for the first time at Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Utrecht.
December-January: he travels to Davos, Switzerland with Ema and Betty.
1973: Richter starts painting the 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].
He is commissioned by BMW to produce three large-scale paintings for the company's new headquarters in Munich and 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, he moves to a larger studio, also enabling him to make larger Colour Charts.
23 May-1 July: a solo exhibition is presented at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.
15 September-15 November: Richter's first solo exhibition in New York is held at Reinhard Onnasch Gallery.
28 September-7 October: Richter is included in Prospect 73: Maler, Painters, Peintres at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf along with Palermo, Polke and other German painters
1974: he continues to paint 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: the Atlas is exhibited at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich.
4 December-12 January 1975: Gerhard Richter: Grey Pictures, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach.
1975: while continuing with large Colour Charts and Greys, Richter also returns to Seascapes. He paints the 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].
25 April-22 June: Richter's Greys are included in Fundamental Painting at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
27 September-21 October: in a solo exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, Seascapes, Gilbert & George series, Tourist series, Greys and 1024 Colours are exhibited.
30 November-18 January 1976: Retrospective Gerhard Richter: Paintings from 1962-1974 at Kunsthalle Bremen. This exhibition travels to the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels the following year.
1976: Richter continues to work on Greys and returns to Landscapes and Clouds. He begins to work on abstract sketches and 'Soft Abstracts'.
29 August-3 October: he exhibits Eight Grey [CR: 367/1-8] at Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, as part of Rooms: Document III.
1977: Richter 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] and Flowers.
He becomes reacquainted with the sculptor Isa Genzken, whom he had met in passing via Buchloh in the early 1970s.
1 February-21 March: a retrospective opens at the newly established Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, curated by Benjamin Buchloh and Pontus Hulten.
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 are 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. In 1988 these events would become the subject of Richter's paintings-cycle October 18, 1977 [CR: 667-674].
22 October-22 November: Richter exhibits Abstract Paintings including the 'Soft Abstracts' at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.
1978: he 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: his new paintings are exhibited at Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.
Summer: Richter holds a position as a visiting professor at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.
21 August-9 September: the 128 Photographs of a Picture [CR: 441], which he created while being in Halifax, are exhibited at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.
22 September-31 October: Gerhard Richter: 48 Portraits is shown at Midland Group, Nottingham.
8 October-5 November: an exhibition of Abstract Paintings is held at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven which would travel on to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London the following year.
1979: Richter paints Abstract Pictures and receives a 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 is shown at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, curated by Nicholas Serota. Photo Paintings, Greys, Tourist series and Vesuvius landscapes are 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: he separates from Ema; later that year he moves in with Isa Genzken.
2-23 October: the Halifax drawings are shown as part of the group show Palermo / Mario Merz / Gerhard Richter at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf.
1980: Richter continues working on the Stroke paintings [CR: 451 and 452] and smaller Abstract Paintings. He makes his first squeegee painting [CR: 456-1] and publishes the artist's book 128 Details from a Picture [Editions CR: 56].
Together with Isa Genzken, he undertakes a commission for an artwork for the underground station at König-Heinrich-Platz, Duisburg, a sequence of coloured panels and mirrors which is 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: the two large Stroke paintings [CR: 451 and 452] are exhibited at Museum Folkwang, Essen (June-August) and the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (September-October).
1981: he makes his first Mirrors and the first large format 'Wild Abstracts' and paints a series of landscapes based on his photographs of Davos. The 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.
He receives the Arnold Bode Prize in Kassel.
The increasingly strained marriage with Ema is coming to an end. Richter begins a close relationship with artist Isa Genzken, whom he met in passing via Buchloh in the early 1970s.
15 January-18 March: Richter's work is included in A New Spirit in Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
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 the 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.
[Elger 2009, p.257]
1982: Richter continues painting 'Wild Abstracts' and Landscapes and begins painting his well-known Candles.
10 January-21 February: new Abstract Paintings are shown 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: he exhibits five new large-format Abstract Paintings at documenta VII, including Yellow-Green [CR: 492], which are distributed throughout the exhibition in dialogue with work by other artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Robert Mangold.
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: Richter marries Isa Genzken.
5 November-12 December: he exhibits the Candles for the first time at Max Hetzler Gallery, Stuttgart.
1983: he continues to paint Abstract Paintings and Landscapes. He also produces Candles and Skulls.
July: the last exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf with Richter's participation takes place where he shows Abstract Paintings and Two Candles [CR: 523-1].
At the end of the year he moves from Düsseldorf to Cologne.
1984: Richter returns to doing watercolours after six years. He also paints Landscapes and Abstract Paintings, experimenting with the relationship between the two.
The first separation from Isa Genzken occurs.
1 January-29 February: an exhibition of his Abstract Paintings takes place at Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, Saint Etienne.
14 January-2 March: his watercolours are shown publicly for the first time at Galerie Thomas Borgmann, Cologne.
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: Richter is represented in Upheavals, Manifestos, Manifestations: Positions in Art at the Beginning of the 1960s in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.
1985: Richter continues with Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.
He is awarded the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in Vienna.
5 March-26 March: a double exhibition in New York jointly organised by Sperone Westwater Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery takes place. This marks Richter’s first exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery.
1986: Richter continues with Abstract Paintings and Landscapes including a series of works where he uses the squeegee over landscapes and works on Mirrors. He undertakes a commission for the Victoria insurance company, producing two 6 x 4 m abstract canvases [CR: 601 and 602].
18 January-23 March: a first large-scale touring retrospective Gerhard Richter: Paintings 1962-1985 at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf takes place which tours to Berlin, Bern and Vienna.
December: Richter 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 includes his works as well as works by Uecker and Polke (10 December-12 January 1987).
13 December-17 January 1987: work dating back to 1964 is shown at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.
1987: Richter paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes and starts to overpaint the first photographs.
February: his artist’s notes are published 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: a joint exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York takes place.
October: Kasper König becomes director of the Städelschule, Frankfurt Art Academy, in Frankfurt am Main and appoints Richter as a visiting professor, a position he takes up the following year.
1988: Richter works on October 18, 1977 [CR: 667-674], 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, in Richter 2009, p.226]
He also paints Betty [CR: 663-5], a portrait of his daughter, 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].
Richter is 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: his first large-scale retrospective in Canada and the United States opens at Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and travels on to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
1989: Richter continues to paint Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.
12 February-9 April: the first exhibition of October 18, 1977 [CR: 667–674] in the Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, sparks controversy across Germany. The cycle is 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 includes 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, in Richter 2009, p.203]
20 May-28 August: Richter's work is featured in Art from Köln at Tate Gallery, Liverpool.
2 August-22 October: Atlas is exhibited at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.
9 November: the demolition of the Berlin Wall begins.
1990: he continues making Abstract Paintings including the first Forest series [CR: 731-734] and fashions portraits of Isa Genzken [CR: 717/5-7].
October 18, 1977 [CR: 667-674] is 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: he exhibits simultaneously at Sperone Westwater Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
3 October: the reunification of Germany is formally concluded.
1991: Richter makes the first Coloured Mirrors including a commission for the Hypovereinsbank, Düsseldorf, Grey Mirrors and Abstract Paintings.
30 October-12 January 1992: the first UK retrospective of Richter's work takes place at 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].
1992: he makes Abstract Paintings and Grey Mirrors.
Richter 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.
July-March 1993: Gerhard Richter: Sils, Nietzsche-Haus, Sils Maria. The exhibition for the first time presents Gerhard Richter's Overpainted Photographs publicly.
1993: he paints the I.G. series [CR: 790/1-5] and Abstract Paintings. Richter's writings are published in German - Gerhard Richter: Text, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Richter ultimately separates from Isa Genzken.
The March edition of Parkett (No. 35) is dedicated to Richter.
23 September-21 November: the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Paris hosts the fullest retrospective of Richter's work to date that travels to Bonn, Stockholm and Madrid. It is curated by Kaspar König. 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: the exhibition Gerhard Richter: Editions 1965-1993, Kunsthalle Bremen is accompanied by a new catalogue raisonné of Richter's editions compiled by Hubertus Butin.
1994: Richter paints Abstract Paintings and portraits of Sabine Moritz: Reader [CR: 799-1 and 804] and Small Bather [CR: 815-1].
He resigns from his position as a professor at Düsseldorf Art Academy.
In November he meets Robert Storr for the first time.
1995: he paints Abstract Paintings, Flowers and the S. with Child series [CR: 827/1-8].
His writings are published in English as The Daily Practice of Painting: Writings and Interviews, 1962-1993.
He receives the Wolf Prize in Arts, Jerusalem.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires October 18, 1977 [CR: 667-674].
Richter marries Sabine Moritz, their son Moritz is born.
25 February-27 April: the first exhibition of Atlas in the United States is held at Dia:Chelsea, Dia Art Foundation, New York.
1 June-4 August: Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.
1996: he paints Abstract Paintings and Self-Portraits and uses aluminium composite surfaces for the first time.
His daughter Ella Maria is born.
June: he moves into the new home and studio in Hahnwald, Cologne that he designed with the architect Thies Marwede.
15 June-15 September: the S. with Child series [CR: 827/1-8] is shown for the first time in Gerhard Richter: 100 Pictures at Carré d'Art, Museé d' Art Contemporain de Nîmes.
1997: Richter paints Abstract Paintings, Landscapes, Flowers, Demo [CR: 848-3], Torso [CR: 844-1] and Head (Sketch) [CR: 844-2].
He receives the Golden Lion at the 47th Venice Biennale.
Richter is awarded the Praemium Imperiale, Tokyo.
21 June-28 September: he exhibits Atlas at documenta X, Kassel.
7 September-11 January: he shows Betty [CR: 663-5] and October 18, 1977 [CR: 667-674] in Images of Germany: Art from a Divided Country, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.
1998: Richter paints Abstract Paintings, the Rhombus series [CR: 851/1-6] and Seascapes.
Richter is 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.
In August he suffers a stroke in his studio.
11 September-22 October: he exhibits the 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: he paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes.
In early 1999 Richter’s Black, Red, Gold [CR: 856] is installed 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), in Richter 2009, p.524]
9 September-4 November: Gerhard Richter: The Complete Editions, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.
2000: Richter paints Abstract Paintings, Flowers, Court Chapel, Dresden - a self-portrait with Benjamin H.D. Buchloh [CR: 865-3] - and portraits of his son, Moritz [CR: 863/1-3].
He begins working on 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), in Richter 2009, p.524]
26 July: he reads the 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: he initiates Übersicht, a long-term travelling 'survey' exhibition of his editions, at Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V., Stuttgart that travels to 50 places all over the world.
2001: he paints Abstract Paintings and Juist [CR: 875-1] and makes the mirror version of Eight Grey [CR: 874/1-8].
10 June-4 November: he shows the Rhombus series of Abstract Paintings [CR: 851/1-6] at the 49th Venice Biennale.
11 September: a series of coordinated attacks on America is carried out 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] in 2005.
December: Richter is honoured by the city of Cologne and invited to enter his name in the city's Golden Book.
2002: he makes the Panes of Glass and Standing Panes.
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: a 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; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.
2003: Richter makes the 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: he exhibits Atlas at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
2004: Richter paints Abstract Paintings and Landscapes, makes Strontium [CR: 888] and three more versions of 11 Panes [CR: 886/3-5]. He produces War Cut [Editions CR: 124 and 125] by photographing 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: he paints the second Forest series [CR: 892/1-12] and September [CR: 891-5].
The Gerhard Richter Archive is established at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
4 February-29 May: Gerhard Richter: Image after Image, Louisiana Museum of Modem Art, Humlebæk, Denmark.
12 February-16 May: a major retrospective opens at K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Another volume of the catalogue raisonné is produced in conjunction with the exhibition covering the years 1993 - 2005.
17 November-14 January: the Silicate paintings [CR: 883-7 and 885/1-4] and the Forest series [CR: 892/1-12] are shown at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
2006: Richter paints the Cage series [CR: 897/1-6], White Paintings and Haggadah [CR: 895-10].
Richter's second son Theodor is born.
2007: the Cologne Cathedral Window [CR: 900] is completed. The enamel on Aludibond series 25 Colours is made and he paints a portrait of his daughter, Ella [CR: 903-1].
25 August: the Cologne Cathedral Window is dedicated. 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, in Richter 2009, p.518]
10 June-21 November: exhibits Cage paintings [CR: 897/1-6] at the 52nd Venice Biennale.
2008: Richter produces Abstract Paintings and makes the 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: he shows September [CR: 891-5] for the first time at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris.
February: the Cage Paintings room at Tate Modern, London is opened.
23 September-23 November: Gerhard Richter: 4900 Colours, Serpentine Gallery, London. This work (4900 Colours [CR: 901]), that encompasses the whole gallery, is composed of 196 panels consisting of 25 squares each that can be presented in 11 different core configurations.
17 October-18 January 2009: an exhibition of the Overpainted Photographs is held at Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen.
2009: Richter continues painting Abstract Paintings and a number of major exhibitions are staged, 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: Richter continues making enamel-behind-glass paintings.
June: the Albertinum in Dresden is reopened including two rooms dedicated to Richter.
He makes the Perizade [CR: 916/1-12] and Ifrit [CR: 915/13-26] series, using enamel on the back of glass like he did for Sinbad [CR: 905/1-100]
2011: Richter creates his first Strip Paintings [CR: 919-2 - 930-7] which he pursues over the next couple of years. They are developed by dividing, mirroring and repeating one of Richter’s Abstract Paintings [CR: 724-4]. This process is documented in the artist’s book Patterns.
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. This is the first venue of this big travelling retrospective with subsequent stops being the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (12 February – 13 May 2012) and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (6 June – 24 September 2012).
23 September-3 November: Gerhard Richter: Painting, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris.
8 September: German Release of Gerhard Richter Painting, a cinematic portrait about Gerhard Richter and his work process filmed by Corinna Belz, who had previously accompanied the artist for a short TV documentary about the Cathedral window in Cologne in 2007.
2012: a number of important exhibitions about Richter’s works are being held around Europe, including the retrospective Panorama which travels to Berlin and Paris after being shown in London.
4 February-22 April: Gerhard Richter: Atlas, Lipsiusbau, Dresden. The up until then complete collection of 783 sheets of Richter’s comprehensive compilation of source materials are displayed.
7 June-17 September: Gerhard Richter. Dessins et aquarelles 1957-2008, Musée du Louvre, Paris. In connection to the Panorama exhibition in the Centre Georges Pompidou, some of Richter’s drawings and watercolours are exhibited in the Louvre. It’s not only the first time his drawings are shown in France, but also the first time that the graphic work of a contemporary artist is shown in the Louvre.
2013: Richter creates new glass sculptures including 7 Panes (House of Cards) [CR: 932] and 12 Panes [CR: 931-2].
12 March–8 September: Gerhard Richter. Elbe, November und andere. Eine Präsentation im Rahmen der Sammlung, Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
14 September–5 January 2014: Gerhard Richter. Strips and Glass, Galerie Neue Meister, Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dresden. This marks the first public presentation of the Strip Paintings [CR: 919-2 - 930-7]. This exhibition later travels to the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur (18 January – 21 April 2014).
23 October–9 February 2014: Gerhard Richter: Atlas – Mikromega, Kunstbau München, Munich. All 802 plates of the Atlas are presented, showing the extension of the work since the Lenbachhaus had acquired it in 1996
2014: Richter starts to work on the four paintings later called Birkenau [CR: 937/1-4], based on four photographs taken by inmates of the Birkenau concentration camp that he paints on canvases and later overpaints in an abstract manner.
18 May-7 September: Gerhard Richter: Pictures/Series, Fondation Beyeler, Basel-Riehen. The exhibition focuses on the many series and variations on themes in Richter’s practice. Richter also starts to work on his series of Doppelgrau mirrors [CR: 935/1-4] which are exhibited in Basel for the first time.
14 November–22 February 2015: Gerhard Richter. Ausschnitt, Neues Museum, Nuremberg. The show is conducted on the occasion of the permanent loan of 27 works by Gerhard Richter to the Neues Museum in Nuremberg from the Böckmann Collection. The Neues Museum now holds the third largest collection of Richter works internationally.
You see a concentration camp yard, with people walking around in it quite calmly, moving corpses - except you only see that when you look more closely. Like nice gardeners … there's an appalling contrast between the contents and the look of the picture.
[Conversation between Gerhard Richter and Nicholas Serota, Spring 2011, in Mark Godfrey, Nicholas Serota: Gerhard Richter. Panorama - Retrospective, 2011, p. 25]
2015: Richter exhibits new Abstract Paintings at Wako Works of Art in Tokyo.
28 February-27 September: rearrangement of the two Richter rooms at the Albertinum in Dresden, Birkenau [CR: 937/1-4] is exhibited for the first time (still called Abstraktes Bild).
9 July-19 July: Richter/Pärt, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. For the Manchester International Festival, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt composes a piece of music for choir which is performed continuously during the duration of the exhibition in front of reproductions of Birkenau [CR: 937/1-4] and Richter’s Doppelgrau mirrors [CR: 935/1-4].
Whether there are three pictures or twelve, I work on them all at the same time. At any given moment, they’ve all progressed to the same extent. And every change on one canvas prompts a change on the others. Until they’re all ready at once.
[Interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, in Hans Ulrich Obrist: Gerhard Richter. PICTURES/SERIES, 2014, p. 98]
2016: he paints a series of new Abstract Paintings.
On the Japanese Island of Toyoshima, a pavilion with the permanent installation 14 Panes of Glass for Toyoshima, dedicated to futility [CR: 931-3] is established.
7 May-25 June: Gerhard Richter: Paintings and Drawings, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
16 September: the Ensemble Musikfabrik stages a concert with specifically composed music for its 25-year anniversary. Richter, having been a member of the board of trustees since 2009 and designing covers for their annual CDs since 2014, was involved with some of his abstract works that were digitally cut and edited into a 32-minute film that accompanied the performance of music by Markus Schmickler, highlighting the connections between art and music.
But painting is my profession because it has always been the thing that interested me most. And now I’m of a certain age, I come from a different tradition and, in any case, I can’t do anything else. I’m still very sure that painting is one of the most basic human capacities, like dancing and singing, that make sense, that stay with us, as something human.
[Conversation between Gerhard Richter and Nicholas Serota, Spring 2011, in Mark Godfrey, Nicholas Serota: Gerhard Richter. Panorama - Retrospective, 2011, p. 15]
2017: on the occasion of Richter’s 85th birthday several big solo exhibitions are being held around the world in Prague, Cologne, Essen, Ghent and Moscow, focusing on different aspects of his practice from his early works to new abstract works. An exhibition in Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art marks the first solo exhibition for Richter in Australia.
28 August: a photographic version of Aunt Marianne [CR: 87] is sent to the memorial site of Großschweidnitz on permanent loan to mark the occasion of their publication of a database of euthanasia victims. Richter’s aunt Marianne Schönfelder was institutionalised for suspected schizophrenia in 1938 and died in Großschweidnitz on 16th February 1945.
The cooperation and connection between the Gerhard Richter Archive, established in 2005, and the studio of Gerhard Richter is ascertained in writing and extended.
5 September: a photographic version of Richter’s Birkenau paintings [CR: 937/1-4] is given to the Reichstag in Berlin to be hung in the entrance hall opposite his work Black, Red, Gold [CR: 856] that had been installed in 1999.
2018: 3 February: Opera Queensland is staging Reprise, an evening of German music with a specially composed set of songs written by Paul Grabowsky in response to the exhibition Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images in Brisbane.
June: Richter gifts a Foucault pendulum and 4 rectangular coloured glass plates to the city of Münster to be installed in the former Dominican church that was deconsecrated on 12 November 2017. Following Richter’s wishes, the space will not be a museum but a space for lectures, concerts, readings and similar events.
8 June: he receives the Europäischer Kulturpreis Taurus (European Cultural Award Taurus) in Dresden for his life’s work.