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Georg Baselitz (born 23 January 1938) is a German painter who studied in the former East Germany, before moving to what was then the country of West Germany. Baselitz's style is interpreted by the Northern American as Neo-Expressionist, but from a European perspective, it is more seen as postmodern.

His career was kick-started in the 1960s after police action against one of his paintings, (Die große Nacht im Eimer), because of its provocative, offending sexual nature.

Baselitz is one of the world's best-selling living artists. He is a professor at the renowned Hochschule der Künste in Berlin.

[ B ] Georg Baselitz - Three hearts (1963)

Three hearts (1963)


Baselitz was born 23 January 1938 as Hans-Georg Kern in Deutschbaselitz (now a part of Kamenz, Saxony), in what was later to be East Germany. His father was an elementary-school teacher and the family lived in the local schoolhouse. Baselitz first encountered art in albums of nineteenth-century pencil drawings in the school library. He also assisted nature photographer Helmut Drechsler on occasional ornithological shoots.

[ B ] Georg Baselitz - Ideefix (1965)

Ideefix (1965)


In his early life, his family moved to the county town of Kamenz. Baselitz attended the local school, in the assembly hall of which hangs a reproduction of the 1859 painting Wermsdorfer Wald by Louis-Ferdinand von Rayski, an artist who's grasp of realism was a formative influence.[1] He read the writings of Jakob Böhme. At the ages of 14 and 15, he painted portraits, religious subjects, still lifes and landscapes, some in a futuristic style. In 1955, he applied to study at the Kunstakademie in Dresden but was rejected. In 1956, he passed the entrance exam to study forestry at the Forstschule in Taranth and successfully applied to study at the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunst in East Berlin. He studied painting under professors Walter Womacka and Herbert Behrens-Hangler, and befriended Peter Graf and Ralf Winkler (later known as A. R. Penck). After two semesters, he was expelled for "sociopolitical immaturity." The next year he successfully applied for a place at West Berlin's Hochschule der Künste and continued his studies in the class of Professor Hann Trier, a creative environment largely dominated by the gestural abstraction of Tachism and Art Informel, affecting a certain orientation towards Paris amongst both staff and students [1]. He immersed himself in the theories of Ernst-Wilhelm Nay, Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich. During this time he became friends with Eugen Schönebeck and Benjamin Katz. Andreas Franzke gives his primary artistic influences at this time as Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston. Conversely, he argues that Baselitz found the work of Barnett Newman inaccessible, as well as that of Mark Rothko. [1]


In 1958, after moving from East Berlin to West Berlin, Baselitz met his future wife, Elke Kretzschmar. He also produced his first original works in a distinct style of his own, among them the imaginary portraits "Uncle Bernhard"/ "Onkel Bernhard." In the same year, he started work on the "Rayski-Head"/ "Rayski-Kopf" series. In 1961, he adopted the name Georg Baselitz in a tribute to his home town. In the same year, he is admitted to the Hann Trier master class. In 1962, he married Elke Kretzschmar and they had a son named Daniel. He also completed his studies at the Akademie. In 1963, Baselitz's first solo exhibition at Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin, caused a public scandal. Two of the pictures, "The Big Night Down The Drain"/ "Die große Nacht im Eimer" (1962/63) and the "Naked Man"/ "Nackter Mann" (1962), are seized by the public prosecutor. The ensuing court case did not end until 1965.


Baselitz spent the spring of 1964 at Schloß Wolfsburg and produced his first etchings in the printing shop there, which were exhibited later that year. The next year, he won a six-month scholarship to study at the Villa Romana in Florence. While there, he studied Mannerist graphics and produced the "Animal Piece"/ "Tierstück" pictures. After returning to West Berlin, he worked until 1966 on the "Heroes"/ "Helden" group, which includes the large-format composition "The Great Friends"/ "Die großen Freunde." In 1966, his second son, Anton, was born, and the family moved to Osthofen, near Worms. Through early 1969, he produced further large-format "Foresters"/ "Waldarbeiter" pictures. In 1969, using Wermsdorfer Wald by Louis-Ferdinand von Rayski as a model, he paints his first picture to feature an inverted motif, "The Wood On Its Head"/ "Der Wald auf dem Kopf."


In the 1970s, Baselitz exhibited regularly at Munich's Galerie Heiner Friedrich. Most of the works he produced during this time were landscapes themed as pictures-within-a-picture. In 1970, at the Kunstmuseum Basel, Dieter Koepplin staged the first retrospective of drawings and graphic works by Baselitz. At the Galeriehaus in Cologne's Lindenstraße, Franz Dahlem puts on the first exhibition of pictures with upside-down motifs. In 1971, the Baselitz family once again moved, relocating to Forst an der Weinstraße. Georg used the old village school as studio and started painting pictures featuring bird motifs. He exhibited several times in the next few years around Germany. He also participated in the 1972 documenta 5 in Kassel. This same year he began using a fingerpainting technique. He then began painting landscapes until 1975, chiefly based on motifs from around Deutschbaselitz. In 1975, the family moved to Derneburg, near Hildesheim. Baselitz visited New York for the first time and worked there for two weeks. He also visited Brazil, participating in the 13th Biennale in São Paulo.


In 1976, Baselitz set up an additional studio in Florence, which he used until 1981. In 1977, he began working on large-format linocuts. He began teaching at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, where he is appointed professor in 1978. From 1978 until 1980, he worked on diptychs using the tempera painting technique (combinations of motifs), multipart pictures (series of motifs), and large-format individual works such as "The Corn Gleaner"/ "Die Ährenleserin," "Woman Clearing Away Rubble"/ "Trümmerfrau," "Eagle"/ "Adler" and "Boy Reading"/ "Der lesende Knabe." The works become more abstract, with scriptural elements predominating. In 1980, he showed his first sculpture at the Venice Biennale.


In 1981, Baselitz set up an addition study in Castiglione Florentino, near Arezzo, which he uses until 1987. His work is exhibited in New York for the first time in 1981. By 1982, he began devoting more time to sculpture, in addition to several exhibitions. In 1983, he began using Christian motifs in much of his artwork, and completed the major composition "Dinner in Dresden"/ "Nachtessen in Dresden". In the same year, he took up a new professorship at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. In 1986, in recognition of Baselitz's achievements, he was awarded the Kaiserring by the city of Goslar. Through the 1980s, Baselitz's work is exhibited frequently in Germany. In 1989, the title Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres was conferred upon Baselitz by French Minister of Arts Jack Lang.


In 1990, at the Nationalgalerie im Alten Museum in Berlin, the first major exhibition of Baselitz's works in East Germany was staged. In 1992, he resigned from the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. In 1993, he designed the set for Harrison Birtwistle's opera "Punch and Judy," staged under the direction of Pierre Audi at the Dutch Opera in Amsterdam. He also took part in the International Pavilion at the Venice Biennale with the "Male Torso"/ "Männlicher Torso" sculpture, accompanied by oversized drawings. In 1994, Baselitz designed a stamp for the French postal service. He also produced his first ground gold picture that year. In 1995, the first major retrospective of Baselitz's work in the US is staged at the Guggenheim in New York City. This retrospective is also exhibited in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Throughout the 1990s, his work was exhibited frequently throughout Europe.In 2002,retrospective of Baselitz's work in Art Gallery of Yapı Kredi Bank in [Istanbul].

Baselitz currently lives and works near Munich and in Imperia. He recently sold his castle in Derneburg.

His work was exhibited in London, at the Royal Academy of Arts in late 2007, and in the White Cube gallery in 2009.

From November 21, 2009, to March 14, 2010, the Museum Frieder Burda and Baden-Baden’s Staatliche Kunsthalle will be exhibiting a comprehensive survey of the artist, featuring approximately 140 works. “Baselitz. A Retrospective” will be presented at the two neighbouring museums, with the Museum Frieder Burda displaying “50 years of painting”, the Staatliche Kunsthalle “30 years of sculpture”.


In the 1970s, Baselitz was part of a group of Neo-Expressionist German artists, occasionally identified as “Neue Wilden,” focusing on deformation, the power of subject and the vibrancy of the colors. He became famous for his upside-down images. He is seen as a revolutionary painter as he draws the viewer’s attention to his works by making them think and sparking their interest. The subjects of the paintings don’t seem to be as significant as the work’s visual insight. Throughout his career, Baselitz has varied his style, ranging from layering substances to his style, since the 1990s, which focuses more on lucidity and smooth changes.[2]


Below is a partial list of Baselitz's works.[3]

1. Ohne Titel (Untitled) (1958)
2. Der Orientale - Kranker Orientale - Vision - Glaubensträger (The Oriental - Sick Oriental - Vision - Upholder of the Faith) (1959)
3. Paranoia (1960)
4. Russische Frauenliebe (Russian Woman's Love) (1960)
5. Rayski Kopf (Rayski Head) series (1960-61)
6. G.-Kopf (G.-Head) (1960-61)
7. Auf einer Landschaft (On a Landscape) (1961)
8. Der Acker (The Field) (1962)
9. Drei Köpfe (Three Heads) (1962)
10. Brustkorb (Ribcage) (1962)
11. Hommage à Charles Méryon (Homage to Charles Méryon) (1962-63)
12. Die grosse Nacht im Eimer (Big Night Down the Drain) (1962-63)
13. Tränenbeutel (Tear Sac) (1963)
14. Schweinekopf (Pig's Head) (1963)
15. Aus Der Traum (The Dream is Over) (1963)
16. Drei Herzen (Three Hearts) (1963)
17. Hommage à Wrubel - Michail Wrubel - 1911 - Alte Heimat - Scheide der Existenz (Homage to Vrubel - Mikhail Vrubel - 1911 - The Old Native Country - Border of Existence) (1963)
18. Der Fuss - 1 P.D. (The Foot - 1st P.D.) (1963)
19. 2. P.D. Fuss - Alte Heimat (2nd P.D. Foot - The Old Native Country) (1960-63)
20. Dritter P.D. Fuss (Third P.D. Foot) (1963)
21. Alte Heimat - Scheide der Existenz - Vierter P.D. Fuss (The Old Native - Border of Existence - Fourth P.D. Foot) (1960/63)
22. Fünfter P.D. Fuss - Russicher Fuss (Fifth P.D. Foot - Russian Foot) (1963)
23. 6. P.D. Fuss (6th P.D. Foot) (1963)
24. Kelte P.D. Fuss (Celt - P.D. Foot) (1963)
25. Achtes P.D. - Die Hand (Eighth P.D. - The Hand) (1963)
26. P.D. (1960/63)
27. P.D. Fuss (1963)
28. Gruss aus der Zukunft (Greetings from the Future) (1963)
29. Geschlecht mit Klössen (Sex With Dumplings) (1963)
30. Idol (1963)
31. P.D. Idol (1964)
32. Oberon - 1. Orthodoxer Salon 64 - E. Neijsvestnij (Oberon - 1st Orthodox Salon 64 - E Neizvestny) (1963/64)
33. Weihnachten (Christmas) (1964)
34. Die poetische Kugel (The Poetic Sphere) (1964)
35. Das Herz (The Heart) (1964)
36. Das Kreuz (The Cross) (1964)
37. Gottes Horn - Ich bin unumgänglich (God's Horn - I Am Indispensible) (1964)
38. Die Peitschenfrau (The Whip Woman) (1965)
39. Bild für die Väter (Picture for the Fathers) (1965)
40. Die Banane (The Banana) (1965)
41. Mann im Mond - Franz Pforr (Man in the Moon - Franz Pforr) (1965)
42. Das Blumenmädchen (The Flower Girl) (1965)
43. Der Dichter (The Poet) (1965)
44. Die Hand - Das brennende Haus (The Hand - The Burning House) (1964/65)
45. Die Hand - Die Hand Gottes (The Hand - The Hand of God) (1964/65)
46. Rotgrüner - Die rote Fahne - Der Rot-Grüne (Red-Green Man - The Red Flag - The Red-Green Man) (1965)
47. Der Hirte (The Shepherd) (1965)
48. Ökonomie (Husbandry) (1965)
49. Ralf 1 (1965)
50. Der Hirte (The Shepherd) [2] (1965)
51. Die grossen Freunde (The Great Friends) (1965)
52. Rebell (Rebel) (1965)
53. Der Hirte (The Shepherd) [4] (1965)
54. Das grosse Pathos (The Great Pathos) (1965)
55. Ludwig Richter auf dem Weg zur Arbeit (Ludwig Richter on the way to work) (1965)
56. Ein Vesperrter (The Inhibited One) (1965)
57. Der Baum 1 (The Tree 1) (1965/66)
58. Falle (Trap) (1966)
59. Das Hirte (The Shepherd) (1966)
60. Scwarzgrüdig (Black Grounded) (1966)
61. Exote (Exotic) (1966)
62. Schwarz Weiss (Black White) (1966)
63. Lockiger (Curly) (1966)
64. Zwei geteilte Kühe II (Two Divided Cows II) (1966)
65. Drei Streifen - Der Maler im Mantel - Zweites Frakturbild (Three Strips - The Painter in a Coat - Second Fracture Painting) (1966)
66. MMM in G und A (1961/62/66)
67. Grosser Kopf (Larger Head) (1966)
68. Der Jäger (The Hunter) (1966)
69. 3 Köpfe mit Schnecke (3 Heads with Slug) (1966)
70. Kullervos Füße (Kullervo's Feet) (1967)
71. Mann mit Gitarre. Paranoiamarsch (Man with Guitar. Paranoia March) (1967)
72. Katzenkopf (Cat's Head) (1966/67)
73. Kullervos Beine - Füße (Kullervo's Legs - Feet) (1967)
74. Ein Grüner (Green One) (1967)
75. B für Larry (B for Larry) (1967)
76. Hunde im Gebüsch (Dogs in the Bushes) (1967/68)
77. Ein Jäger (A Hunter) (1968)
78. Waldarbeiter (Woodmen) (1968)
79. Meissener Waldarbeiter (Meissen Woodmen) (1968)
80. Die Kuh - Nr. 2 (The Cow - No. 2) (1969)
81. Der Wald auf dem Kopf (The Wood on It Head) (1969)
82. Der Mannn am Baum (The Man by the Trees) (1969)
83. Da. Porträt - Franz Dahlem (Da. Portrait - Franz Dahlem) (1969)
84. D. Hildebrand - Kopfbild (D. Hildebrand - Upside-Down Picture) (1969)
85. Der werktätige Dresdener - Porträt M.G.B. (The Dresden Workman - Portrait M.G.B.) (1969)
86. Fünfziger Jahre Porträt - M.W. (Fifties Portrait - M.W.) (1969)
87. Birke (Birch) (1970)
88. Kaspar und Ilka König (Kaspar and Ilka König) (1970/71)
89. Der Falke (The Falcon) (1971)
90. Fingermalerei I - Adler - à la (Finger Painting I - Eagle - à la) (1971/72)
91. Fingermalerei Birken - 4. Bild (Finger Painting Birches - 4th Picture) (1972)
92. Elke II - Fingermalerei an Elkes Kopf (Elke II - Finger Painting on Elke's Head) (1972)
93. Fingermalarei - Interieur (Finger Painting - Interior) (1973)
94. Akt Elke (Nude Elke) (1974)
95. Birken Piskowitz (Birches Piskovitz) (1974)
96. Männlicher Akt (Male Nude) (1975)
97. Schlafzimmer (Bedroom) (1975)
98. Brauna (1975)
99. Elke V. (1976)
100. Stilleben (Still Life) (1976/77)
101. Männlicher Akt - Schwarz (Male Nude - Black) (1977)
102. Elke 4 (1977)
103. Die Flasche - der Adler (3. Paar) (The Bottle - the Eagle [3rd Pair]) (1978)
104. Adler (Eagle) (1978)
105. Birnbaum Nr. 1-4 (2. Gruppe) (Pear Tree Nos 1-4 [2nd Group]) (1978)
106. Die Ährenleserin (The Gleaner) (1978)
107. Trümmerfrau (Bomb-Site Woman) (1978)
108. Adler (Eagle) [2] (1978)
109. Akt - Der Baum (13. Gruppe) (Nude - The Tree [13th Group]) (1979)
110. Das Straßenbild (The Street Picture) (1979/80)
111. Modell für eine Skulptur (Model for a Sculpture) (1979/80)
112. Ohne Titel (Untitled) (1979/80)
113. Ohne Titel (Untitled) 2 (1979/80)
114. Frau am Strand - Night in Tunesia (Woman on Beach - Night in Tunisia) (1980)
115. Blick aus dem Fenster nach draußen - Strandbild, 7 (Look Outwards of the Window - Beach Picture, 7) (1981)
116. Orangenesser I (Orange-Eater I) (1981)
117. Orangenesser IV (Orange-Eater IV) (1981)
118. Flaschentrinker (Bottle Drinking Man) (1981)
119. Glastrinker (Drinking Man) (1981)
120. Glastrinker (Glass Drinking Man) (1981)
121. Kaffeekanne und Orange (Coffeepot and Orange) (1981)
122. Buckliger Trinker (Humpbacked Drinker) (1981)
123. Adler (Eagle) (1982)
124. Frau am Strand (Woman on the Beach) (1982)
125. Die Mädchen von Olmo I (The Girls of Olmo I) (1982)
126. Mann im Bett (Man in Bed) (1982)
127. Adieu (1982)
128. Mann auf rotem Kopfkissen (Man on Red Pillow) (1982)
129. Nacht mit Hund (Night with Dog) (1982)
130. Adler im Bett (Eagle in Bed) (1982)
131. Franz in Bett (Franz in Bed) (1982)
132. Rotschopf (Redhead) (1982)
133. Maler mit Segelschiff (Painter with Sailing-Ship) (1982)
134. Maler mit Fäustling (Painter with Mitten) (1982)
135. Ohne Titel (Untitled)[1 - 5+] (1982/83)
136. Blauer Kopf (Blue Head) (1983)
137. Schwarz Säule (Black Post) (1983)
138. Nachtessen in Dresden (Dinner in Dresden) (1983)
139. Blauer Mann (Blue Man) (1983)
140. Der Brückechor (The Brücke Chorus) (1983)
141. Die Dornenkrönung (The Crowning with Thorns) (1983)
142. Der Bote (The Herald) (1984)
143. Lazarus (1984)
144. Der rote Mann (The Red Man) (1984/85)
145. Scheibenkopf (Segment Head) (1986)
146. Die Beweinung (The Lamentation) (1983)
147. Der Abgarkopf (The Abgar Head) [1-3] (1984)
148. Die Verspottung (The Mocking) (1984)
149. Vier Hände (Four Hands) (1984)
150. Zwei Rehe (Two Deer) (1985)
151. Das Liebespaar (Loving Couple) (1984)
152. Die Nacht (The Night) (1984/85)
153. Mutter und Kind (Mother and Child) (1985)
154. Italienische Frau (Italian Woman) (1985)
155. Weibliche Landschaft (Female Landscape) (1985)
156. Der Hase (The Hare) (1986)
157. Pastorale - Der Tag (Pastorale - The Day) (1986)
158. Pastorale - Die Nacht (Pastorale - The Night) (1985/86)
159. Dolores (1986)
160. Besuch in Dresden (Visit to Dresden) (1986)
161. Zerbrochene Brücke - Wendenbraut (Shattered Bridge - Wendish Bride) (1986)
162. Zwei schwarze Bäume (Two Black Trees) (1986)
163. Gruß aus Oslo (Greetings from Oslo) (1986)
164. Die Riesin (The Giantess) (1987)
165. Der Fisch (The Fish) (1987)
166. Alte Sachen (Old Things) (1987)
167. G.-Kopf (G.-Head) (1987)
168. Selbstporträt Desaster (Self-Portrait Disaster) (1987)
169. 1897 (1986/87)
170. Sieben mal Paula (Seven Times Paula) (1987)
171. Dicke Blonde (Fat Blonde) (1987)
172. Das Malerbild (The Painter's Picture) (1988)
173. Die Mühle brennt - Richard (The Burning Mill - Richard) (1988)


* Georg Baselitz. Bilder, die den Kopf verdrehen. Seemann, Leipzig 2004. ISBN 3-86502-089-5

* Georg Baselitz. Paintings 1962-2001, edited by Detlev Gretenkort, mit einem Essay von Michael Auping, Milano 2002

* Georg Baselitz. Retrospektive 1964–1991, edited by Siegfried Gohr. Hirmer, Munich 1992. ISBN 3-7774-5830-9

* „Ich will es noch einmal schaffen“ Interview with Georg Baselitz, in art magazin 3/2006, S. 36-43

* Christian Malycha Das Motiv ohne Inhalt. Malerei bei Georg Baselitz 1959-1969. Bielefeld 2008. Kerber Artbooks. ISBN 978-3-86678-131-3


1. ^ a b c Franzke, Andreas (1989). George Baselitz. Munich: Prestel-Verlag. p. 17. ISBN 3-7913-0947-1.
2. ^ Georg Baselitz at Lausanne's Fondation de lHermitage, ARTINFO, July 5, 2006,, retrieved 2008-04-21
3. ^ Franzke, Andreas (1989). George Baselitz. Munich: Prestel-Verlag. pp. 23–251. ISBN 3-7913-0947-1.

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