Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting (Revised)

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
7.36 X 10.22 X 1.25 inches | 3.0 pounds

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About the Author

Dietmar Elger is the director of the Gerhard Richter Archive and chief curator at the Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. He is the former curator for painting and sculpture at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover. Between 1984 and 1985 he was the secretary in Gerhard Richter's studio. He has organized numerous exhibitions on modern and contemporary art and has written and edited their accompanying catalogs.


"Gerhard Richter, one of the world's most acclaimed artists, has worked feverishly for decades, continually exploring new subjects and approaches in paintings that shimmer as elegant attempts at distancing. Born in the lovely, doomed city of Dresden a year before Hitler became chancellor, Richter came of age in East Germany, where his remarkable talents harnessed to Soviet-imposed social realism. Disciplined and ambitious, Richter made the most of oppressive circumstances, then defected to West Germany, where he achieved success first as a pop-art star with his strikingly blurred photo-paintings, works in sync with yet far more poetic than Andy Warhol's silk screens. Although Richter is orderly and reserved, curator and confidant Elger, director of the artist's archives, writes knowledgeably and insightfully about the personal experiences and deep feelings underlying the polished surfaces of Richter's mysterious portraits, complex abstractions, and beautiful landscapes and seascapes. Elger also elucidates Richter's aesthetics of detachment and ambiguity, use of photographs, and pursuit of what Richter calls 'pure picture.' An enlightening foundational portrait of an artist who will stand the test of time."

-- "Booklist"

"Among the many triumphs of Dietmar Elger's landmark first biography of the artist, Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting, written with full access to his archives, is to show how Richter's apparently neutral tones are part of a long, complicated fight against traditional German emotionalism. . . . Elger creates a splendid portrait of Germany's postwar amnesia refracted through the prism of Richter's rapid developments. Although over-discreet - obscure, even - about the artist's private life, he unravels a psychologically compelling story: how across the decades Richter's art of restraint and non-commitment reaches its high points when he dared let flamboyance or emotion in by stealth."

-- "Financial Times"