Gerhaert is considered to be the most influential northern European sculptor of the 15th century. He was born in Leiden, Holland (present day Netherlands) sometime around 1420. Based on the location of his work, we know he spent most his working life in the Germanic areas of Trier, Straßburg, Baden, Konstanz, and Vienna. Much of his documented work is lost to history, but what has survived is characterized by elaborate drapery and extreme physical realism, both extraordinarily vivid and unconventional. His specialties were tombs, altarpieces and other religious pieces. Sandstone and limestone are among his most frequent mediums.
One of his most well known works currently resides in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame in Strasbourg (Alsace, present day France). Called the Buste d'homme accoudé (1467), it is an indisputed masterpiece, and is believed to be a self-portrait. Gerhaert died on 28 June 1473 in Wiener Neustadt (present day Austria).