(German, b.1960) was born in Leipzig, and has been described as one of the most acclaimed and influential painters of his generation. Considered part of the New Leipzig School, Rauch’s work is influenced by his Communist East Germany origins, and is reminiscent of the works by fellow German artists Gerhard Richter
(German, b.1932), Sigmar Polke
(German, 1941–2010), and Georg Baselitz
(German, b.1938). His paintings are often large in scale, and feature robust figures painted in garish colors. While Rauch himself hesitates to classify his paintings as Surrealist, he acknowledges the influence of dreams and imagination, and thinks of his work as usually a balance between various extremes, including the real and the surreal.
The scenes and images evoke a Social Realist sensibility, but are tinged with an unsettling ambiguity, due to the uncanny sense that they are simultaneously familiar and strange. In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosted a solo exhibition of Rauch’s work, called Para
. The show, which included paintings created specifically for the exhibition, highlighted the theme of “parallel universes,” or the idea that the scenes in Rauch’s work appear both real and imagined. Rauch’s work has been exhibited at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany, the David Zwirner Gallery in New York, and the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany, among other museums and galleries. He trained at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, and continues to live and work in Leipzig.