The exhibition, marking the artist’s eightieth birthday, takes the form of a focused retrospective, bringing together many of the most important paintings and sculptures created by Baselitz over the past six decades, but also including new works that have not been shown in public before.
Baselitz is one of the few contemporary artists whose work is deeply rooted in the history of European and American painting. He is seen as the inventor of a figurative pictorial language that draws on a rich repertoire of iconographic and stylistic elements, although these, in his visual inventions, take on conflicting and ambivalent meanings. Baselitz’s artistic cosmos is like a hall of mirrors in which original, remembered and imagined images blend with art-historical models and precedents to form new and striking compositions.
The powerful and exciting works in the exhibition, from every phase of the artist’s career, reveal the full thematic and stylistic range of his exceptional oeuvre. Key works from the 1960s, with a selection of the Hero and Fracture paintings, will feature in the exhibition, together with examples of the inverted images for which Baselitz became famous in the 1970s and 80s. A selection of the artist’s large-format wood sculptures will include his first exercise in this medium: the painted wood piece that caused a political scandal when it was exhibited at the 1980 Venice Biennale. Paintings from the later Remix series and from recent years complete the survey of the work of one of the most original artists of the twentieth and twenty- first centuries.
The retrospective assembles some eighty paintings and ten sculptures from 1959 to the present day, with loans from renowned public and private collections in Europe and the USA.
The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, where it will be shown subsequently in a modified form. In parallel with the presentation at the Fondation Beyeler, the Kunstmuseum Basel will be exhibiting a selection of Baselitz’s works on paper.
Public collections include Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; and the Tate Modern, London. In 2014, the British Museum, London, presented “Germany Divided: Baselitz and his Generation,” an exhibition of drawings and prints by Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Blinky Palermo, A. R. Penck, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter. The Avignon paintings (2014) were featured in the 56th Biennale di Venezia in 2015.
Baselitz currently lives and works between Ammersee, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; Imperia, Italy; and Salzburg, Austria.
Foto: © Fondation Beyeler