Graubner studied from 1947 to 1948 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1948 he moved to Dresden Art Academy, where he was expelled as a result of the dismissal of his master William Rudolph. In 1951 he was re-admitted in 1952 and expelled again. In 1954 he left the GDR and studied from 1954 to 1959 at the Dusseldorf Art Academy.
From 1964 to 1965 he was an art teacher at the Lessing -Gymnasium in Dusseldorf. From 1965 he was a lecturer and in 1969 a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg. 1968 and 1977 he participated in the documenta. From 1976 to 1992 he was professor of painting at the Free State Art Academy Dusseldorf.
He created in 1988 for the Great Hall in the office of the Federal President ( Bellevue Palace in Berlin) two large abstract paintings that Farbraumkörper encounters. They were painted by Graubner site. Another well-known paintings in public ownership is one of the art works in the Reichstag building and hanging in a meeting room of the Reichstag: It is a large, landscape-oriented, so-called pillow image.
Graubner lived and worked in Dusseldorf and on the Museum Island Hombroich in Neuss- wood home. He died shortly before his 83rd birthday.
Graubner sat down in his work with the color as a subject of painting apart. Since 1962, he created abstract paintings. The two-dimensional screen, he stressed on the Stretcher over a thick layer of synthetic fiber. It created objects that he called pillow images. Between 1968 and 1972 he exhibited so-called " fog room " her and since 1970 called Graubner his works Farbraumkörper. These are often large formats, such as the paintings of its cycle to Francis of Assisi. Graubner wearing multiple layers of ink or varnish, wherein the suction force of the substrate plays a role. It is crucial for their effects in different ways the intensity of his style of painting. This color landscapes created with inviting to contemplation rest; polychrome works are monochrome images over finest color nuances. To develop the life of their own color, free of the demands of having to represent something other than itself, was the subject of art Gotthard Graubner.