Georg Baselitz

Study for Woodcut


Not on display

Georg Baselitz born 1938
Original title
Vorzeichnung für Holzschnitt
Graphite and chalk on paper
Support: 611 × 430 mm
Purchased 1984

Display caption

This figure shares many of the characteristics of the young men depicted in the series of Heroes which Baselitz created between 1965-6. This youth is dressed in short pants that reveal his injuries - the right leg seems to be amputated at the knee, and the left leg is footless. A detached foot is wedged into the space between the figure's legs, and an extra arm and artificial leg are in the lower left corner. In the woodcut to which this work is related, entitled 'Torso', the composition is simplified to include only the headless and footless body of a man without any additional details. Horizontal crop lines and light shading at the top and bottom of the drawing indicate the area of the composition which was transferred to the woodcut.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Georg Baselitz born 1938

T03945 Study for Woodcut 1966

Pencil and blue chalk on paper 611 x 430 (24 x 17)
Inscribed 'GB /67 | Vorzeichnung für Holzschnitt' b.r.
Purchased at Christie's (Grant-in-Aid) 1984

Prov: the artist, who sold it to Christof Krätz, 1976, sold Christie's 4 Dec.1984 (744, repr.)

The inscription of T03945 suggests that it is a preparatory drawing for a woodcut. The subject, a single, male figure dressed in battle fatigues, is closely related to the Neue Typen works in various media, made between 1965 and 1966. The figure in T03945 shields his genitals with his left hand, while his right hand hangs limply down his side. He is carrying a rucksack and his shirt is open at the neck, a recurrent feature in the Neue Typen images. He is wearing short trousers and his right leg is supported on a is box-like structure. At the bottom left corner of the image the stump of a wooden leg has been added. Crooked around it is an arm, unattached at the shoulder, but opening out into a hand at the bottom edge of the image, which suggests another figure to the left of the soldier of T03945.

According to the artist, Torso 1966 (863 x 613, repr. Fred Jahn, Baselitz: Werkverzeichnis der Druckgrafik Band I 1963-1974, I, Berne and Berlin 1983, p.70) is the woodcut to which T03945 relates. The areas along the top and bottom edges of T03945, which are hatched, indicating their exclusion in the woodcut image, are excluded in the woodcut version of the image. The central figure of the standing rebel, now cropped at the neck and ankles, is the content of the woodcut, following the excision of other details which occur in the drawing. All of the background detail is absent in the woodcut, thus allowing a complete concentration on the headless figure. In a letter to the compiler dated 22 March 1988, Detlev Gretenkort, the artist's secretary, writes: 'the preparatory drawing is probably dated wrongly - it must have been made in 1966.' This acknowledges the discrepancy in the dating on the inscription: T03945 predates Torso as the title suggests and the inscription was probably added at a later date.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.92-3

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