Gerhard Richter began his artistic career as a font, stage and advertising painter in Zittau in the former GDR. In 1951 he was admitted to the Dresden Art Academy, where he worked as a student of Karl Appen and Heinz Lohmar. Richter worked as a master class student at the academy until 1961 and took on government contracts from the GDR. In February 1961 Richter fled to West Berlin with his wife and had to leave behind his pictures, hardly any of which are left today. He continued his studies with Karl Otto Götz at the Düsseldorf Academy and was in the same class as Sigmar Polke, HA Schult, Konrad Lueg and Gotthard Graubner. In 1971 he received the professorship for painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, which he held until 1993. From 1964 he received his first major solo exhibitions, which increased in the following years and quickly reached an international audience. In 1972 he performed "48 Portraits" in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Major exhibitions and commissions followed, so that his international recognition increased and a major retrospective was dedicated to him in 1993/94 in Paris, Bonn, Stockholm and Madrid. In 2002 Richter celebrated his 70th birthday with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Today he lives and works in Cologne and is considered the most expensive living artist in Germany.