Gerhard Richter, beyond a doubt the most famous German artist of his generation, will be celebrating his eightieth birthday on 9 February 2012. To mark the occasion, the New National Gallery in Berlin is holding a sweeping retrospective of his work, in conjunction with Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Around 150 paintings from all periods of the artist's extensive oeuvre, carefully selected together with the artist himself, offer visitors a profound insight into his stylistically and thematically diverse body of work. Several canvases that have long been accepted into the modern canon, such as Ema (1966), the nude descending the stairs, and Betty (1988), whose head is turned away from the viewer, are combined here with rarely seen works and a few that have never been on display before. Key works from a particular period, group or series are placed alongside works that either stand out on their own or pre-echo later developments. Structured for the most part chronologically, the exhibition's dramaturgical flow centres around a dialogue, running over decades, held between abstraction and figuration; a dialogue that can be traced all the way back to the very first painting in Richter's catalogue raisonné, Table from 1962.