Jorg Immendorff

Jorg Immendorff (born June 14, 1945 in Bleckede near Luneburg) is one of the best known contempory German painters; he is also a sculptor, stage designer and art professor.

He studied at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf under Joseph Beuys. The academy kicked him out because of some of his political and neo-dadaist actions. His paintings are sometimes reminiscent of surrealism and often use heavy symbolism to convey political ideas. Best known is the Cafe Deutschland series of sixteen large paintings begun in 1977; in it, Immendorff has the guests of a diskotheque symbolize the conflict between East and West Germany. Since the 1970s, he worked closely with the painter A.R. Penck from Dresden (in East Germany). In his current work, a "painter monkey" often appears, as an ironic commentary on the artist's business. Ironically, he named his first acclaimed work "Hort auf zu malen!" or "Stop painting!"

He worked for twelve years as an art teacher at a public school, and then as a free artist, holding guest professorships all over Europe. He created several stage designs, including two for the Salzburg Festival. In 1984 he opened the bar La Paloma near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg St. Pauli and created a large bronze sculpture of Hans Albers. He also contributed to the design of Andre Heller's avant-garde amusement park "Luna, Luna" in 1987.

In 1989 he became professor at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt am Main; since 1996 he has been professor at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf -- the same place that had dismissed him as a student. In 1997 he received the best endowed art price in the world, the MARCO price of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, Mexico. In the following year he received the merit medal (Verdienstorden) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Reportedly, he is the favorite painter of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

Immendorff has also created various sculptures; one spectacular example is a 25 m tall bronze sculpture in the form of an oak tree, erected in Riesa in 1999.

Immendorff was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in 1998. When he could not paint with his left hand anymore, he switched to the right. In 2004, he funded a stipend to research the disease.

Immendorf has always skillfully used the media for self-promotion. In 2000, his wedding to a former student more than 30 years his junior became a public event. The two had a daughter in August 2001.

In August 2003, Jorg Immendorff was caught in the luxury suite of a Dusseldorf hotel with seven prostitutes (and four more on their way) and some cocaine. More cocaine was found in his studio; all in all, the found substances contained 6.6 grams of pure cocaine, above the legal threshold for personal use. He admitted to having taken cocaine since the early 1990s and attempted to explain his actions by his "orientalism" and his terminal illness. He cooperated with the prosecution and supplied the name of his dealer. He was suspended from his position at the university. At the trial in July 2004, he admitted to having organized 27 similar orgies between February 2001 and August 2003. He was sentenced to 11 months on probation and was fined 150,000 Euros. The mild verdict was justified with Immendorff's illness and his extensive confession.

In March 2004, a woman had attempted to blackmail Immendorff, threatening to divulge further details of the orgies. Immendorff notified police and she was arrested. Her trial started in September 2004.