Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden in 1932 and studied at the Dresden Art Academy in Communist East Germany. A few months before the erection of the Berlin Wall, he and his wife fled to Düsseldorf in West Germany. Richter had his first solo exhibition in Düsseldorf in 1963 and in 1972 was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. He has been awarded the Oskar Kokoschka Prize (1988), the Praemium Imperiale, (1997) and the Wexner Prize (1988), among others. His first North American retrospective was held in 1988 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. In 2001 the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited a retrospective of his paintings.