The German painter, born in Greppin near Dessau on 5 February 1920, was a pilot during the Second World War before beginning his career as a painter. His enthusiasm for flying had a considerable influence on his art, particularly the viewpoint from above. Hoehme only began studying in Halle after the war in 1948 at the age of twenty eight. He went to the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1952. In the same year, he met the later director of the Galerie 22 Düsseldorf, Jean-Pierre Wilhelm, who introduced him to Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet, the most important artists of Informel in Paris.
Since then, Hoehme was a follower of the Informel. He helped J.-P. Wilhelm found his Galerie 22 in 1957, a gallery which existed until 1960 and which was a lively forum for Informel artists, musicians and writers. Hoehme joined the "Lyrische Abstraktion" in 1955 and became a leading member of the Düsseldorf artist association "Gruppe 53" in 1957.
This was also the year of a decisive change in Hoehme's art: he began using unusual picture formats in the tradition of the 'shaped canvases' and mixed paints in order to study three-dimensional structures. The artist was invited to exhibit at the "documenta II" in Kassel in 1959 and was awarded the Villa-Massimo-Prize in 1960. In the same year Hoehme accepted a post as professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he continued teaching until 1984.
The artist's purely painted early work was followed, in the 1960s, by an analysis of three-dimensionality in the combination of painted surfaces and three-dimensional elements. From 1964 he designed increasingly three dimensional objects, which integrated apart from the classic canvas base et al. wood, gauze and nylon strings. The very same year Hoehme discovered his "pattern sheets", from 1968 on followed by installations and the first "Damast Pictures", works which were Hoehme's answer to the "open picture". Hoehme published the manifesto "Relationen", which was valid for his work in 1968.
Gerhard Hoehme is one of the most important painters of German Informel. His work has been much honoured in the past and today by numerous exhibitions, such as at the Museum am Ostwall, Düsseldorf in 1980, or at the Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim and the Sprengel Museum Hannover in 1985/86. Most recently, his works were on show at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn in 1998 and at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 2000.
Gerhard Hoehme contributed in an important way to German Informel. He developed one of the most idiosyncratic and complex work, which is known by German art of the second half of the 20th century.