Neo Rauch (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.

Timeline

1960
Born in Leipzig, Germany
1981–1986
Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig
1986–1990
Master Student, with Professor Bernhard Heisig, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst,
1993–1998
Assistant, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig
2005–2009
Professor, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig
Lives and works in Leipzig, Germany

Exhibitions

2011
4th Moscow Biennale: Rewriting Worlds, Moscow
2011
Neo Rauch, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany [catalogue] (solo)
2011
Neo Rauch: Begleiter. The Myth of Realism, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw [catalogue] (solo)
2011
Neo Rauch and Rosa Loy: Hinter den Garten, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria [catalogue] (solo)
2011
Mythos Realismus, Zacheta Panstwowa Galeria Sztuki, Warschau, Poland
2011
Heilstätten, David Zwirner, New York, NY (solo)
2010
Begleiter, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
2010
Palais Beauharnais, German Embassy, Paris, France
2010
Die Bilder tun was mit mir…, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
2010
Group Show, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig
2010
If not in this period of time – German Contemporary Painting: 1989-2010, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo
2010
Luc Tuymans: A vision of Central Europe, Groeningemuseum, Brugge Centraal, Bruges[catalogue] [exhibition curated by Luc Tuymans]
2010
Ordinary Madness: Contemporary Works from the Collection, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh [exhibition publication]
2009
15 Jahre Sammlung Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg: Gegen den Strich, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany
2009
1989: End of History or Beginning of the Future? Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna [catalogue]
2009
Steppin' Out, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
2009
Realisme uit Leipzig, Drents Museum, Assen, The Netherlands [catalogue]
2009
Neo Rauch: Schilfland, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Berlin [catalogue] (solo)
2009
City of Heroes: London Leipzig Week. Neo Rauch, German Ambassador’s Residence, London (solo)
2008
Carte Blanche: Freundliche Feinde, Galerie für Zeitgenössicische Kunst, Leipzig
2008
The Gallery, David Zwirner, New York
2008
Hommage à Klaus Werner, Galerie für Zeitgenössicische Kunst, Leipzig
2008
Sommer bei EIGEN+ART, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Berlin
2008
Neo Rauch, David Zwirner, New York [catalogue] (solo)
2007
Neo Rauch at the Met: para, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York [itinerary: Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany] [catalogue] (solo)
2007
Para, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY and Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany
2007
Neue Rollen, Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic
2006
Neo Rauch, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal [catalogue] (solo)
2006
Neo Rauch: Der Zeitraum, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig [catalogue] (solo)
1993–2006
Neue Rollen, Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany
2005
Neo Rauch, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Malága, Malaga, Spain [catalogue] (solo)
2005
Neo Rauch: Renegaten, David Zwirner, New York [catalogue] (solo)
2005
Neo Rauch: Works 1994-2000: The Leipziger Volkszeitung Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts [catalogue]
2004
Neo Rauch: Arbeiten auf Papier/Works on Paper 2003-2004, Albertina, Vienna [catalogue] (solo)
2003
Currents 90: Neo Rauch, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri [exhibition brochure] (solo)