Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden. Like many of his generation growing up in Germany, his relatives were involved in the Nazi movement. Death and the rigorous ideology of that movement have haunted Richter since childhood and may explain a part of his work. Richter is known for both his abstract works and photo paintings. His photo-based paintings are photographs used as source material but the artist paints over them to give the painting a photographic and yet blurred appearance.
Richter's first solo exhibition was in 1963 at Mobelhaus Berges in Düsseldorf. In 1972 Richter was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. The artist's first North American retrospective was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1988. A critically acclaimed retrospective was held in 2001 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York called, Forty Years of Painting. Richter has also been awarded several prizes, including the Arnold Bode Prize in 1982 and the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in 1985.