Neo Hanno Rauch is a German painter and university lecturer. He is internationally successful and is considered the most important representative of the so-called New Leipzig School. He graduated from the extended secondary school "Thomas Müntzer" (today Gymnasium Stephaneum). Rauch studied painting at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, first with Arno Rink from 1981 to 1986 and then as a master student with Bernhard Heisig from 1986 to 1990. From 1993 to 1998 he worked as assistant to Arno Rink at the Leipzig Academy, from 2005 to 2009 as a university lecturer and from 2009 to 2014 as honorary professor. His commitment went beyond his work as a teacher; in 2007 he curated an exhibition with Timm Rautert entitled "Man muss sich beeilen, wenn man noch etwas sehen wollen ..." at Gut Selikum in Neuss.
The group exhibition "Young Artists in the District of Leipzig" at the Lindenau Museum in Altenburg in 1986 marked the beginning of public perception of Rauch's work. In 1991, Neo Rauch had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie am Thomaskirchhof in Leipzig and in the same year at the Schwind Gallery in Frankfurt. In 1993, Rolf Lauter, Deputy Director at the Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt, discovered the artist's work and, thanks to the support of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation, realized the first non-commercial presentation of his most recent paintings in the exhibition rooms of Dresdner Bank AG Frankfurt.
In the catalogue text, Lauter referred to the combinatorial principle of Rauch's sampling, which incorporated elements from art history, paraphrases from Surrealism, and metaphors from the everyday and working world. Klaus Werner organized Rauch's first major institutional solo exhibition ("Randgebiete") in 2000 at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig. In 2006 the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg dedicated a retrospective to him. The small exhibition "para" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York followed in 2007.
Rauch's pictorial world is characterized by a bright opaque coloration and shows figures in overlapping spaces and times. The style permeates socialist realism, but is also influenced by Pop Art and comics. Conceptually, the work is close to Surrealism and can be regarded as magical realism. Rauch often dreams his subjects. The pictures are said to have "peculiarity, suggestiveness and timelessness". In the magazine "Texte zur Kunst" he was portrayed as a representative of German neoconservatism.
One of his discoverers, Roberta Smith, aroused enthusiasm for Neo Rauch in the USA with an article about the "painter who came in from the cold". Rauch's paintings hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as in the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig and are presented in solo exhibitions, for example in the Albertina in Vienna (2004/2005).
In 2006 Rauch published eight lithographs on five calendar stories by Botho Strauß under the title Der Mittler. In 2007 he designed free of charge models for three windows with motifs from the life of Elisabeth of Thuringia for the Elisabeth Chapel in Naumburg Cathedral.
On June 1, 2012, the exhibition rooms of the Neo Rauch Graphic Foundation were opened in the presence of Neo Rauch in his home town of Aschersleben.18 The foundation was established in May 2012 by Rauch, his gallery owners and the town of Aschersleben and is based on a donation by the artist, who donated one copy of his graphic work to his home town. In 2018 Neo Rauch and his wife Rosa Loy designed the stage set for the opera Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival.