Rupprecht Geiger



Rupprecht Geiger, son of painter Willi Geiger, is among the main representatives of German Colour Field Painting and started to produce drawings and watercolours in his teens. After a degree in architecture in 1935, he initially worked as an architect in Munich. He painted his first abstract works in 1948, based on the impressions of light and colour, which he had received as a wartime painter in Russia and Greece. In 1949, he founded the ZEN 49 group together with Willi Baumeister, the artists’ couple Matschinsky-Denninghoff and Fritz Winter. In his abstract egg tempera and oil paintings of the 1950s, he experimented with different trapezoidal, hook-shaped and irregularly shaped paintings, aiming to make the intrinsic value of colour perceptible to the viewer. This and his interest in Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism and in the universe led him to create his first colour field paintings in 1960. Here Geiger presented a contrast between cold and warm colours, using basic shapes such as rectangles, ovals and circles. During his professorship at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf (1965-1976), he experimented with acrylic and fluorescent paint, which he applied with a spray gun. With his murals (including one at the Reichstag building in Berlin) and his room installations, he has so far come closest to his goal of an absolute and meditative experience of colour. The artist has received countless awards and took part in Documenta 2, 3, 4 and 6. A major retrospective was held at the Lenbachhaus in Munich in 2007/08.