Neo Rauch: Biography

Neo Rauch's (b. 1960) paintings are characterized by their distinctive combination of figurative imagery and surrealist abstraction. His enigmatic compositions employ an eccentric iconography of human characters, animals, and hybrid forms within familiar-looking but imaginary settings. While Rauch begins each work without a preconceived idea of the finished result, there is a uniquely recognizable, visual coherence to his oeuvre. Paintings often display palettes of strong, complementary colors, and recurrent subjects include the seamless integration of organic and non-organic elements as well as references to the creative process, music, and manual labor. The artist's treatment of scale is deliberately arbitrary and non-perspectival, and often seems to allude to different time zones or planes of existence.

Rauch was born in 1960 in Leipzig, where he continues to live and work, and studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst. Since 2000, Rauch's work has been represented by David Zwirner. His 2019 solo exhibition Propaganda, featured at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, marked the artist’s eighth gallery presentation and his first solo presentation in China. Previous solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York include At the Well (2014), Heilstätten (2011), Neo Rauch (2008), Renegaten (2005), Neo Rauch (2002), and Neo Rauch (2000), which marked his United States debut. In 2021, The Signpost, a solo exhibition of new works by the artist, was on view at David Zwirner, New York. 

Rauch's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions internationally. In July 2023, a solo presentation of the artist’s work will open at MoCo Montpellier Contemporain, France. In 2022, Neo Rauch: Die Mitte was on view at Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, in the Netherlands.  Neo Rauch – Works from 2008 to 2019 was on view at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, in 2019-2020. Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden was presented in 2019 at Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, and traveled to The Drawing Center, New York. Neo Rauch Dromos Painting 1993–2017 was presented at Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, Netherlands, in 2018. In 2013, BOZAR – Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels presented a solo show of the artist’s work entitled Neo Rauch: The Obsession of the Demiurge. Selected Works 1993-2012 and in 2010 his first major museum survey was co-hosted by the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. A version of this survey was shown at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw in 2011. 

Other venues which have presented solo exhibitions include the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany (2012); Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany (2011); Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria (2011); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2007); Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2007); Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2006); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2006); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005); Albertina, Vienna (2004); and the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2002).
The Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch opened in June 2012 in Aschersleben, Germany, where the artist was raised. The foundation is dedicated to maintaining and preserving Rauch's entire graphic oeuvre. In celebration of its ten year anniversary, the The Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch will present an exhibition of Rauch’s prints since 1988, on view through April 28, 2024. 

Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 

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