Georg Baselitz

Year of birth, place
1938, Deutschbaselitz, Germany
lives and works in
Salzburg, Austria
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Georg Baselitz was born (as Hans Georg Kern) in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony in 1938. In 1956 he embarked on studies at the Hochschule für Bildende und Angewandte Kunst in East Berlin, but was expelled after two semesters for subversive activities. He then studied (1957-64) at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin, under Hann Trier, in 1958 settling definitively in the West of the city. Baselitz has won a great many prizes and awards for his work as a painter: in 1985 he was presented with the Kaiserring bestowed by the city of Goslar, and in 1989 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. Baselitz has taught at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Berlin. He now lives an works in Derneburg, and in Imperia, northern Italy.

Today Baselitz is widely regarded as one of the most important painters in Germany. He is also known as  a draughtsman and print-maker, and, since 1980, he has been active as a sculptor. In the mid-1960s he started to paint his series of Heroes, the »Heldenbilder«. These show ill-proportioned figures, usually standing, and may be understood to bear a political message. After 1966, Baselitz started to slice his figures up into several pieces and produced the 'Fractured Pictures', the »Frakturbilder«. In 1969 he painted the first of his upside-down figures. By standing his subject on its head, Baselitz was able to treat it purely in terms of form. At this time Baselitz was striving for a type of painting that eschewed the element of narrative. The climax of this series so far is to be seen in the »Bildüberein« series, on which the artist embarked in the early 1990s, and which consists of almost entirely abstract  images in which only occasional traces of objective motifs are to be found.

Individual exhibitions (selection)

1963 Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin
1976 Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst, Munich, and Galerieverein, Munich
1981 »Georg Baselitz: Neue Bilder«, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne
1990 »Georg Baselitz: Hero Paintings«, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
1994 »Georg Baselitz: Dessins 1962-1992«, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1995 »Georg Baselitz«, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, subsequently at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Hirshhorn Museum and   
Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
1996 »Georg Baselitz«, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
1997 Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna

Group exhibitions (selection)

1972 documenta V, Kassel
1980 Biennale di Venezia, Venice
1982 documenta VII, Kassel
1989 »Bilderstreit«, Museum Ludwig, Rheinhallen, Cologne
1991 »Metropolis«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
1994 »Der zerbrochene Spiegel«, Kunsthalle and Messepalast, Wien, subsequently at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1996 »Munch and after Munch or the obstinacy of painters«, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, subsequently at Munch-museet, Oslo
1997 »Die Epoche der Moderne«, Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin; »Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997«, Münster; »Deutschlandbilder«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin 

[David Richardt, 1997]