Gotthard Graubner was born at Erlbach in the Vogtland region of Germany on June 13, 1930. In 1947-48 Graubner studied at the Berlin "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" before transferring to the Dresden art academy where he studied until 1952. Having moved to West Germany, Gotthard Graubner continued his studies at the Düsseldorf art academy.
Between 1955 and 1957 Graubner's image language evolved away from the geometric color shapes he had used until then. Gotthard Graubner began to try different approaches to handling color, at first in watercolors and then on canvas. Now he gave priority to using colour lavishly instead of sparingly in shapes and on the edges of his pictures. To enhance the spatial effect of color surfaces, Gotthard Graubner began in the 1960s to mount picture-sized color cushions in his pictures and later to cover them with perlon fabric. These so-called "Kissenbilder" ("Cushion Pictures") were first shown at Alfred Schmela's gallery in Düsseldorf.
After working as a school art teacher for a year, Graubner was appointed to teach at the Hamburg "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" in 1965, where he became professor of painting in 1969. Graubner's first participation in the Kassel "documenta" was in 1968. Between 1968 and 1972 Graubner created his so-called "Nebelräume" ["Fog Spaces"].
In 1970 Gotthard Graubner replaced the older terms "Farbleib" ["Color Body"] and "Kissenbild" by the term "Farbraumkörper" ["Color Space Body"]. After representing the Federal Republic of Germany at the 1971 Sao Paulo Biennale, Gotthard Graubner took the opportunity to travel on to Colombia, Peru and Mexico. Further study trips took him to India and Nepal. In 1973 Graubner joined the Berlin "Akademie der Bildenden Künste" and in 1976 he became professor of painting at the Düsseldorf art academy.
In 1980 Graubner's work was shown at a memorable exhibition at the "Staatliche Kunsthalle" in Baden-Baden. In 1982 Graubner was represented at the Federal German pavilion of the Venice Biennale with a five-part Color Space Body ensemble. In 1987 Gotthard Graubner was awarded the August Macke Prize of the City of Meschede and in 1988 the North German Art Prize.
The same year Graubner created two large pictures for the seat of the president of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin. In 2001-02 Graubner received the Otto Ritschl Prize and his work was shown at the Wiesbaden Museum. Graubner's work seems uninfluenced by the developments of contemporary art. By contrast, he found his own path and persued it with great consistency: The paramount theme of Gotthart Graubner's work is developing the autonomous life of color - free from any need of representing anything but itself.
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