Born in Düsseldorf in 1940, Ulrich Erben is one of the great postwar painters in Germany. Having grown up on the Lower Rhine and in Rome, the vastness of the landscape became the starting point for his art. Yet Erben does not paint from nature; his paintings are in the tradition of concrete art, geometric abstraction, and color field painting.
After studying art in Italy and Germany, Erben returned to the Rhineland at the age of twenty-six and moved into a studio away from the art scene in Goch, near Düsseldorf. One year later he traveled to the USA for the first time, where his interest in landscapes and minimalism gathered momentum. In 1968 he created his first Weißen Bilder (White Paintings), which he presented at the groundbreaking gallery m bochum in 1971 and documenta 6 in 1977. Unlike Robert Ryman’s saturated white surfaces, Erben’s works have edges. They look like pastose slabs, bathed in glistening sunlight: an impression that was soon continued by his light objects—halogen p