After the first years of his studies at the Nuremberg "Akademie der Bildenden Künste" in 1948-49, Pfahler transferred to the Stuttgart art academy, which he attended until 1954. Although Pfahler had mainly worked in ceramics during his studies, as a freelance artist, he focused increasingly on painting. After his early "Metropolitan" pictures, Pfahler developed pictorial configurations around 1956, in which he experimented with the spatial effects of color in a manner reminiscent of a pointillist technique. This phase gave way to works which, from 1956, were based on Action Painting and Art informel.
The term "formativ" (formative), which he added to the titles of his pictures from 1958 on, marked his emancipation as a painter from the more formless style influenced by Willi Baumeister. An intention to clarify new ways of seeing and fresh viewpoints lead to ink drawings, followed by collages.
In the following years, his forms became even more simplified and ultimately became mere vehicles for colors and their interrelations. In about 1962 block-like forms turned into crisply demarcated colour surfaces, which elevate Pfahler to being the sole representative of "Hard-Edge Painting" in Germany. He achieved his international breakthrough in exhibitions such as "Signale" 1965 in Basel, "Formen der Farbe" 1967 in Amsterdam, Stutgart and Bern or "Painting and Sculpture from Europe" 1968 in New York, where he presented the pictures he created in the early sixties.
Given his interest in the spatial properties of color, it is only logical that in 1965 Pfahler should have begun to really translate his works into the third dimension in his "Farb-Raum-Objekte" and the 1969 "Farbräume".
Since 1965 he also managed to realize numerous architectural projects, which made an important contribution to art in architechture and public spaces. Together with Thomas Lenk, Heinz Mack and Günter Uecker, Pfahler was chosen to provide the German contribution to the Venice Biennale in 1970, in 1981 he was chosen to represent German art at the Sao Paulo Biennale.
After working as a guest lecturer at Helwan University in Cairo in 1981, he taught at the "Akademie der Bildenden Künste" in Nuremberg from 1984 to 1992. Since 1982 Pfahler has also lectured at the "Internationale Sommerakademie" in Salzburg. In 1999 he was given the honorable task of designing the conference room of the Council of Elders assisting the German Bundestag.
Georg Karl Pfahler died in January 2002 at the age of 75 in Emetzheim, Frankonia.