Artist biography

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. Even in his early work of the late 1950s and early 1960s Baselitz rebelled against the dominance of abstract painting.. The imagery in these early works, symbolic of the body and its organs and of sexual obsessions, borders on the traumatic.

From the mid 1960s he concentrated on several figure types, sometimes portrayed as scarred or wounded but presented in a stylised form as modern heroes, as people from a mythical land beyond our questionable civilisation.

From 1969 Baselitz painted his subjects upside down, seeing in this method the possibility of stressing the realisation of the motif as a painted surface and the form as his primary concern.

After moving in 1975 to Derneburg, near Hildesheim, Baselitz served as professor of painting at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe (1977–82) and at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in West Berlin (1983–8). Although he continued to present the medium itself as his primary vehicle of expression, in the 1980s he again gave greater weight to subject-matter.

In 1979 Baselitz began work on his first monumental sculptures in wood, for which he employed an elemental and deliberately unpolished technique that gave his figures and heads an archetypal forcefulness. Having worked for many years against the mainstream of contemporary art, by the 1980s he had established an international reputation through his influence on the young German Neo-Expressionist painters referred to in Germany as the ‘Neue Wilden'.

Bibliography
Georg Baselitz (exh. cat., Munich, Staatsgal. Mod. Kst, 1976)
Georg Baselitz (exh. cat., ed. K. Gallwitz; Venice, Biennale, 1980)
Georg Baselitz: Paintings, 1966–69 (exh. cat., essay R. Jablonka; London, Anthony d'Offay Gal., 1982)
F. Jahn: Baselitz—Peintre–graveur, 2 vols (Berne, 1983)
Georg Baselitz: Sculptures (exh. cat., ed. J.-L. Froment; Bordeaux, Mus. A. Contemp., 1983)
Georg Baselitz: Paintings, 1960–83 (exh. cat., intro. R. Calvocoressi; London, Whitechapel A.G.; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.; Basle, Ksthalle; 1983–4) [with manifestos and essay by Baselitz]
S. Gohr: Georg Baselitz: Druckgraphik/Prints/Estampes (Munich, 1984)
Georg Baselitz (exh. cat. by J.A. B. Danzker, Vancouver, A.G., 1984) [with trans. of first and second Pandämonium]
Georg Baselitz: Zeichnungen, 1958–1983 (exh. cat. by D. Koepplin and R. Fuchs, Basle, Kstmus.; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.; 1984)
Georg Baselitz (exh. cat., Basle, Gal. Beyeler, 1986)
Georg Baselitz: Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, 1979–1987 (exh. cat., ed. C. Haenlein; Hannover, Kestner-Ges., 1987)
A. Franzke: Georg Baselitz (Munich, 1988; Eng. trans., 1989)
Georg Baselitz: Der Weg der Erfindung (exh. cat., ed. K. Gallwitz; Frankfurt am Main, Städel. Kstinst & Städt. Gal., 1988)
Georg Baselitz im Gespräch mit Heinz Peter Schwerfel (Cologne, 1989)
Georg Baselitz (exh. cat., ed. J. Harten; Zurich, Ksthaus; Düsseldorf, Städt. Ksthalle; 1990)

ANDREAS FRANZKE

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