Rupprecht Geiger

1908 in Munich/Germany – 2009 in Munich/Germany

Rupprecht Geiger – A life for color

Rupprecht Geiger was one of the main representatives of color field painting in Germany; his entire life’s work revolved around the theme of color. Geiger viewed color as an autonomous value, “color is energy”. Particularly through the intensive study of the color red, it became internationally known in the 1950s: “Red is life, energy, potency, power, love, warmth, strength. With its ability to stimulate, it has a powerful function.” His pictures were characterized by simple geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles or ovals and intensely bright colors and contrasts.


1951 Domnick Prize from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
1958 Prize at the International Triennale for Color Graphics in Grenchen, Switzerland
1968 Burda Prize
1986 Gold Medal of the 8th International Graphic Biennale Fredrikstad, Norway
1988 Berlin Art Prize, awarded by the Academy of Arts, Berlin
1988 Grand Federal Cross of Merit
1989 Honorary Cultural Award from the State Capital of Munich
1992 Rubens Prize of the city of Siegen
1993 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art
1994 Harry Graf Kessler Prize
1995 Upper Bavarian Culture Prize
1997 Honorary Golden Coin of the State Capital of Munich

Exhibitions (selection)

1959 documenta II
1964 documenta III
1967 Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
1968 documenta IV
1977 documenta 6
1977 Quadrat Bottrop
1985 retrospective. Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
1986 Seiji Togo Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
1994 Russian Museum St. Petersburg, Russia
1994 New Masters Picture Gallery, Staatl. Kunstsammlungen Dresden
2002 XXV. Biennale of São Paulo, Brazil
2005 Mies van der Rohe House, Berlin
2007/2008 retrospective for the 100th birthday. Lenbachhaus, Munich
2008 Museum for Contemporary Art, Siegen
2008 New National Gallery, Berlin
2008 Haus der Kunst, Munich
2017 Rupprecht Geiger. Fill up with color, Bochum Art Museum
2020 RED X STEEL, Alf Lechner Museum Ingolstadt


Rupprecht Geiger was born in Munich in 1908 as the son of the painter and graphic artist Willi Geiger. From 1926-1935 he studied at the School of Applied Arts in Munich and initially worked in a Munich architectural office until he was drafted to the front in Russia in 1940. In 1948 his first abstract painting was exhibited at the “Salon des Réalistes Nouvelles” in Paris. A year later, together with Baumeister, Matschinsky-Denninghoff and Winter, the group “ZEN 49” was founded. In the 1950s, Geiger found his typical style of abstract and colorful compositions. Between 1959 and 1977, Geiger took part in the documenta in Kassel several times. In 1965, Geiger was appointed professor at the Düsseldorf Academy, where he taught until 1976. Rupprecht Geiger is one of only three honorary members of the German Artists’ Association. His works are in important museums and collections.