Gerhard Altenbourg was born as Gerhard Ströch in Rödichen-Schnepfenthal, Thuringia, Germany in 1926. In the mid 1950 he adopted the pseudonym Gerhard Altenbourg, a slight variation of his home town of Altenburg. Altenbourg was a versatile artist. In the course of his life he devoted himself to painting and prints as well as sculpture and poetry.
After the end of the war he worked as a journalist and writer in Altenburg. In the mid 1940s he produced his first oil paintings and colored pencil drawings in Erich Dietz's painting lessons.
From 1948 to 1950 he studied at the "Hochschule für Baukunst und bildende Künste" in Weimar under Hans Hoffmann-Lederer.
Gerhard Altenbourg's first individual exhibition took place at the Springer gallery in Berlin in 1952. In the years between 1951 and 1961 the artist left the majority of his artwork to this gallery. At the end of the 1950s, he created his first sculptural works in marble, gipsum and metal as well as his first wood carvings. Gerhard Altenbourg took part in "documenta II" in 1959.
Numerous exhibitions followed, including his first retrospective at the Brusberg gallery, Berlin, in 1969/70.
Altenbourg received numerous awards for his works. In 1967 for example, he received the award of the "II Internationale der Zeichnung" in Darmstadt and a year later the Will-Grohmann-Prize.
Gerhard Altenbourg died after a car accident in 1989. Gerhard Altenbourg's works can be found in many significant national and international collections such as in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.