RAIMUND GIRKE German, 1930-2002


An influential figure of post-war German art, Raimund Girke (b. 1930 Lower Silesia - d. 2002 Cologne, Germany) first studied at the art school in Hanover and then at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with ZERO founders Otto Piene and Heinz Mack. Departing from Abstract Expressionism and initially influenced by the gestural-rhythmic abstraction of Informel, he became a forerunner of Analytical Painting committed to the investigation of the colour white. "White is emptiness, immateriality, calm and silence".


From 1956-7, reducing his palette to black and grey, Girke developed a painting style consisting of few colours and void of any figurative reference taking the work to the extremes of white in 1959. Brushstrokes increased in dynamism and force allowing vibration, rhythm and movement to flow through the materiality of the paint. Exploring the concepts of light, and colour his paintings are at once still and dynamic, meditative and probing.


Since 1971 he was a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. In 1977 he took part in documenta 6 in Kassel and his works are represented in numerous museums and collections. In 1995-96 four German museums held a retrospective of his work- Sprengel Museum Hannover, Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal, Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken, Kunsthalle Nürnberg. His work is now in many major collections such as the Nationalgalerie Berlin, Sprengel Museum, Museum Bonn and the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard.