I'm trying to paint a picture of what I have seen and what moved me as well as I can. That's all.
- Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden, Germany in 1932 to Horst Richter, a teacher and Hildegard, a book seller and pianist. A few years after his birth, Richter and his family moved to a quiet town near the Polish border.
The Second World War had a large influence on his early work. Richter lot two uncles and an aunt during that period. His father was conscripted into the army and was apprehended by the allied forces. The relationship between Richter and his father remained difficult, while he and his mother bonded over their shared love for art.
In 1951, Richter returned to Dresden to attend an art academy. He excelled in school, where he studied painting, and worked for the university several years before he decided to move to West-Germany as the control from the communist regime became too much.
Düsseldorf was to be his new home. Here, he became inspired by the photographic style that has made him famous. His subjects often came from a military background or they were family pictures. In the 1970s, he started to focus mainly on abstract art. His popularity only grew in the decades to come.
Richter kept refining his style and continued looking for new inspirations as his career soared. At 85 years, Gerhard Richter is the most expensive living artist. His most expensive painting, Abstraktes Bild from 1986 sold for a record-breaking $46.306.800 in 2015.