Georg Baselitz

Georg Baselitz (born January 23, 1938) is a German painter who studied in the former East Germany before moving to what was then the country of West Germany.

His career was kick-started in the late 1980s after a police action against one of his paintings, a self-portrait (Die grosse Nacht im Eimer) that depicted an underaged boy masturbating.

Baselitz's style is Expressionist. His speciality is to paint his subjects the other way around to free the subject from its content. Baslitz is one of the world's best-selling living artists. He is a professor at the renowned Hochschule der Künste in Berlin.

Georg Baselitz 1938-

Born 23 January 1938 as Hans-Georg Kern in Deutschbaselitz/Saxony, in what was later East Germany. His father is an elementary schoolteacher and the family lives in the local schoolhouse; in its library, Baselitz comes across albums of nineteenth-century pencil drawings - his first encounter with art. He acts as assistant to nature photographer Helmut Drechsler on occasional "ornithological shoots."

1950-1955 The family moves to the county town of Kamenz. Baselitz attends the local 'Gymnasium,' in the assembly hall of which hangs a reproduction of the painting "Wermsdorfer Wald" (1859) by Louis-Ferdinand von Rayski. He reads the writings of Jakob Böhme. At the age of 14-15, he paints portraits, religious subjects, still lifes and landscapes, some in a futuristic style.

In 1955, he applies to study at the Kunstakademie in Dresden but is rejected.

1956 Passes the entrance exam to study forestry at the Forstschule in Taranth yet successfully applies to study at the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunst in East Berlin. Studies painting under professors Walter Womacka and Herbert Behrens-Hangler. His friends include Peter Graf and Ralf Winkler (later known as A. R. Penck). After two semesters, he is expelled for "sociopolitical immaturity."

1957 Successfully applies for a place at West Berlin's Hochschule der Künste and continues his studies in the class of Professor Hann Trier. Immerses himself in the theories of Ernst-Wilhelm Nay, Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich. Becomes friends with Eugen Schönebeck and Benjamin Katz.

1958 Gives up his room in East Berlin and moves to West Berlin. Meets his future wife, Elke Kretzschmar. Produces first original works in a distinct style of his own, among them the imaginary portraits "Uncle Bernhard"/ "Onkel Bernhard." Starts work on the "Rayski-Head"/ "Rayski-Kopf" series. Visits the exhibition The New American Painting of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, when it is put on at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin.

1959 Hitchhikes to Amsterdam and sees "Le B'uf écorché" (1926) by Chaim Soutine at the Stedelijk Museum. Stops off in Kassel on the way back to visit documenta 2. Gives up his studio at the Hochschule and begins to work at home.

1960 Devotes his attentions to the subject of "anamorphosis" and studies the art of the mentally ill (Prinzhorn collection).

1961 Adopts the name Georg Baselitz in a tribute to his home town. First trip to Paris. Baselitz and Schönebeck show their works in a deserted house and write the accompanying "1st Pandämonium." Both admitted to the Hann Trier master class.

1962 The "2nd Pandämonisches Manifest" of Baselitz and Schönebeck appears. Marries Elke Kretzschmar. Birth of first son, Daniel. Beginning of friendship with Michael Werner. Completes studies at the Akademie

1963 In 1963, Baselitz's first solo exhibition at Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin, caused a public scandal; several paintings were confiscated for public indecency. Two of the pictures, "Big Night Down The Drain"/ "Großer Nacht im Eimer" (1962/63) and the "Naked Man"/ "Nackter Mann" (1962), are seized by the public prosecutor. The ensuing court case does not end until 1965, when the pictures are finally returned. Writes a further manifesto in the form of the letter "Dear Mr. W!" and completes the "P.D. Feet"/ "P.D.-Füße" series.

1964 "Idol" pictures. Spends the spring at Schloß Wolfsburg and produces his first etchings in the printing shop there. Shows the picture "Oberon" at the 1. Orthodoxon Salon of Michael Werner. Beginning of friendship with Johannes Gachnang. In autumn, Michael Werner exhibits the etchings.

1965 Is awarded a six-month scholarship for the Villa Romana in Florence. While there, he studies Mannerist graphics. In Florence, he produces the "Animal Piece"/ "Tierstück" pictures. First exhibition at Munich's Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem. After returning to West Berlin, works until 1966 on the "Heroes"/ "Helden" group, which includes the large-format composition "The Great Friends"/ "Die großen Freunde."

1966 Warum das Bild "Die großen Freunde" ein gutes Bild ist exhibition and manifesto at the Galerie Rudolf Springer in West Berlin. Second son Anton is born. Moves to Osthofen near Worms. Together with his first woodcuts, produces green pictures featuring rural motifs, the so-called "Fracture Paintings"/ "Frakturbilder," which he works on until 1969.

1967 Paints the picture "B for Larry"/ "B für Larry."

1968 Through early 1969, further large-format "Foresters"/ "Waldarbeiter" pictures are produced.

1969 Taking Wermsdorfer Wald (1859) by Louis-Ferdinand von Rayski as model, he paints his first picture to feature an inverted motif: "The Wood On Its Head"/ "Der Wald auf dem Kopf." This is followed by the group of "Friends"/ "Freunde" portraits.

1970 In the coming years, exhibits regularly at Munich's Galerie Heiner Friedrich. Most works produced are landscapes; their theme is the picture-within-a-picture. At the Kunstmuseum Basel, Dieter Koepplin stages 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.

1971 Moves to Forst an der Weinstraße. Uses the old village school as studio. Starts painting pictures featuring bird motifs. For the foyer of the Neurosurgical Clinic in West Berlin, he produces the "In The Forest Near Pontaubert - Seurat"/ "Im Walde bei Pontaubert - Seurat" triptych. Exhibition at the Galerie Tobiès & Silex in Cologne.

1972 The Kunsthalle Mannheim shows paintings and drawings. Exhibition of works from the 1962-1972 period at the Kunstverein in Hamburg. Participates in documenta 5 in Kassel. Rents a factory hall in Musbach as studio. Uses the fingerpainting technique, painting pictures such as "Fingerpainting-Eagle"/ "Fingermalerei-Adler" and "Fingerpainting-Birches"/ "Fingermalerei-Birken." The Edition Galerie Heiner Friedrich begins to distribute the prints under the direction of Fred Jahn. The Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München shows drawings and etchings. Johannes Gachnang exhibits the 1969 "Friends" portraits at the Goethe Institut / Provisorium in Amsterdam. Through 1973, self-portraits such as "Fingerpainting-Nude"/ "Fingermalerei-Akt."

1973 At his Hamburg gallery, Hans Neuendorf exhibits "Heroes" pictures under the title Ein neuer Typ, 1965/66. Up until 1975, Baselitz paints the so-called "Flags"/ "Fahnen," strips of canvas nailed to the wall which are subsequently, and logically, attached to a carrier canvas.

1974 At Cologne's Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Thordis Möller stages regular exhibitions of current work. First prints retrospective at the Städtisches Museum Leverkusen, Schloß Morsbroich. To coincide with the exhibition, the first prints catalogue - compiled by Six Friedrich - appears. Up until 1975, Baselitz paints chiefly landscapes based on motifs from around Deutschbaselitz.

1975 Moves to Derneburg near Hildesheim. First trip to New York, where he sets up an atelier for 14 days, producing two Saxon landscapes and "Eagle"/ "Adler" drawings. Travels on from there to Brazil to take part in the XIII. Biennale in São Paulo. On returning to Germany, completes the two "Bedroom"/ "Schlafzimmer" pictures.

1976 Sets up an additional studio in Florence, which he uses until 1981. Johannes Gachnang presents an overview of Baselitz's works at the Kunsthalle Bern. Retrospective at the Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst in Munich accompanied by the first lavishly illustrated catalogue. Siegfried Gohr presents the Baselitz uvre at the Kunsthalle Köln. The "Elke" nudes series is produced. Rogner & Bernhard publish Comte de Lautréamont's The Songs of Maldoror with illustrations by Georg Baselitz.

1977 Works until 1979 on large-format linocuts. Takes up a post at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, where he is appointed professor in 1978. Withdraws his pictures from documenta 6 in protest at the participation of official representatives of GDR painting. Starts work on diptychs on plywood boards.

1978 Strikes up a friendship with Helen van der Meij and has first exhibition in her gallery in Amsterdam. Work produced up until 1980 includes chiefly diptychs using the tempera painting technique (combinations of motifs) and 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. Exhibition at the Gillespie-Laage gallery in Paris.

1979 At the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Rudi Fuchs shows the output of a single year, Bilder 1977-1978. From March 1979 to February 1980, Baselitz works on the 18-part "Street Picture"/ "Das Strassenbild." Presents the manifesto "Four Walls And Skylight Or Better No Picture On The Wall"/ "Vier Wände und Oberlicht oder besser kein Bild an der Wand" to coincide with the Dortmund architecture convention on the subject of museum design. Exhibition of the large-format linocuts and their accompanying "working stages" prints at the Kunsthalle Köln. Fred Jahn starts to exhibit the prints at his Munich gallery.

1980 In the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale (commissioned by Klaus Gallwitz), he shows his first sculpture, "Model For A Sculpture"/ "Modell für eine Skulptur" (1979/80), which Nicholas Serota exhibits at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in November. Paints the three diptychs "German School"/ "Deutsche Schule," "The Studio"/ "Das Atelier" and "The Family"/ "Die Familie." Following the closure of the Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich, Baselitz works together with Hans Neuendorf. Works on the "Beach Picture"/ "Strandbild" series until early 1981.

1981 Takes part in the A New Spirit in Painting exhibition staged by the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In Cologne, Michael Werner shows "Street Picture," which is subsequently presented by Edy de Wilde at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The "Orange Eater"/ "Orangenesser" and "Drinker"/ "Trinker" series are produced. Up until 1987, maintains an additional atelier in Castiglione Florentino near Arezzo. Michael Werner exhibits the "The Girls From Olmo"/ "Mädchen von Olmo" and "Drinker" pictures, and in subsequent years puts on regular exhibitions of current works in Cologne. First New York exhibition staged by Xavier Fourcade.

1982 Exhibitions at the galleries of Ileana Sonnabend in New York and Young Hoffmann in Chicago. Takes part in documenta 7 in Kassel. In the Zeitgeist exhibition in Berlin, the "Man In Bed"/ "Mann im Bett" series is featured. Ralf Winkler (A. R. Penck) publishes the first issue of his periodical Krater & Wolke, which is dedicated to Georg Baselitz; devotes an increasing amount of his time to sculpture. Exhibitions at the galleries of Anthony d'Offay and Leslie Waddington in London.

1983 The major composition "Dinner in Dresden"/ "Nachtessen in Dresden" is produced. Up until the end of 1984, Christian motifs figure most prominently in his work. Sculpture exhibitions at the Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne. At the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Bordeaux, Jean-Louis Froment presents the first overview of Baselitz's sculptural work. Participates in the Expressions: New Art from Germany exhibition, which starts at Saint Louis Art Museum and subsequently tours the US. Detlev Gretenkort joins the artist as secretary and archivist. Baselitz completes the major composition "The Brücke Choir"/ "Der Brückechor." Retrospective staged by the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, which is later to be seen at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Kunsthalle Basel. Moves from Karlsruhe to take up a new professorship at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin.

1984 "The Abgar Picture"/ "Das Abgarbild" series. At the Kunstmuseum Basel, Dieter Koeppelin curates an exhibition of drawings from 1953-1983, which is subsequently also to be seen in other cities. First exhibition at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York in association with Michael Werner. Retrospective prints exhibitions at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Neue Pinakothek in Munich, which is later put on by Rainer Michael Mason at the Cabinet des estampes in Geneva. The Vancouver Art Gallery shows pictures from 1966-1984. Sabine Knust takes on distribution of the prints.

1985 Completes the painting "The Night"/ "Die Nacht." At the Bibliothèque National in Paris, Françoise Woimant shows the prints retrospective, to which an overview of the sculptures produced to date is added. Produces the "Mother And Child"/ "Mutter und Kind" series of pictures. For the Kunsthalle Bielefeld and Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Ulrich Weisner designs the Vier Wände exhibition, at which a selection of Mannerist and African art works feature alongside the artist's own works. Writes the "Painter's Equipment"/ "Das Rüstzeug der Maler" manifesto. 1986 Completes the two "Pastoral"/ "Pastorale" pictures, which are subsequently shown in the Mary Boone Gallery in New York. Retrospective at the Galerie Beyeler in Basel. Exhibition of the so-called "Fight Motifs"/ "Kampfmotive" at the Henie-Onstad Kunstcenter in Høvikodden near Oslo. In recognition of his artistic achievements, he is awarded the Kaiserring by the City of Goslar. The encomium is delivered by Klaus Gallwitz. "Trees"/ "Bäume" exhibition at the Wiener Sezession. The "Greetings From Oslo"/ "Gruß aus Oslo" sculpture is produced in memory of the trip to Norway.

1987 Review of sculptures and accompanying drawings at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. Spends three months working on the "Anna selbdritt" appliqué. Pastorale, Gemälde und Zeichnungen exhibition at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Studio in Imperia on the Italian riviera. "Painter's Pictures"/ "Malerbilder" series. "Painter's Equipment" lecture in Amsterdam and London.

1988 The sculpture "Tragic Head"/ "Tragischer Kopf" and the "The Motif"/ "Das Motiv" series of pictures are produced. Christos Joachimides curates a retrospective of 1965-1987 works at the Sala d'Arme di Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, which is later shown at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. At the Städel in Frankfurt, Klaus Gallwitz shows the Der Weg der Erfindung exhibition, which sets early works against the later sculptures. After a year's work, Baselitz completes "Painter's Pictures." The Motif exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bremen. Gives up his professorship at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. Works until mid-1989 on the "Folk Dance"/ "Volkstanz" series of pictures. The first monograph - compiled by Edward Quinn with a text by Andreas Franzke - appears.

1989 The title Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is conferred upon Baselitz by French Minister of Arts Jack Lang. Takes part in the Bilderstreit exhibition in Cologne. To coincide with this, Michael Werner shows the various stages in the production of the large-format coloured woodcut "Ciao America." Baselitz paints the twenty-part picture "'45" and spends a year working on the "Women Of Dresden"/ "Dresdner Frauen" series of sculptures. Both works echo Baselitz's memories of the Second World War. Woodcuts retrospective at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld.

1990 The Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne shows the "'45" picture. Exhibition at the Fundació Caixa de Pensions in Barcelona and in Madrid. At the Anthony d'Offay Gallery in London, the "Folk Dance" pictures are exhibited. At the Nationalgalerie im Alten Museum in Berlin, the first major exhibition of Baselitz's works on GDR soil is staged. Werner Schade shows drawings from the Kupferstichkabinett in Basel and privately owned pictures from Berlin. Harald Szeeman organizes the most extensive exhibition of paintings to date at the Kunsthalle Zürich, which later moves on to the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. At the Pace Gallery in New York, Arnold Glimcher shows the "Women Of Dresden" group of sculptures and the "'45" picture. Baselitz edits issue #7 of the Krater & Wolke periodical, which is dedicated to A. R. Penck. Michael Werner publishes the artist's book Malelade featuring poems and 41 etchings by Baselitz, which is exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1991.

1991 Delivers the "Painter's Equipment" lecture in Paris to coincide with Lucio Amelio's presentation of the "Woman From The South"/ "Frau aus dem Süden" sculpture at Ameliobrachot Pièce Unique. Participates in the Metropolis exhibition in Berlin. Start of the "Picture About One"/ "Bildübereins" series comprising 39 picture, on which he works until 1995. Prints retrospective from the Cabinet des estampes collection in Geneva, which is also shown at the IVAM Centre Julio Gonzáles in Valencia, London's Tate Gallery, and the Malmö Kunsthall.

1992 Resigns his membership of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. In Berlin, Philippine Rothschild presents the 1989 Bordeaux "Château Mouton Rothschild" boasting a label designed by Baselitz. Retrospective of works from 1964-1991 in the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, which is subsequently taken on by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna. Series of imaginary portraits of women on a black ground. Appointed professor at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin once again. "Somersaults Are Also Movement And Fun To Boot"/ "Purzelbäume sind auch Bewegung und noch dazu macht es Spaß" lecture at the Münchner Podium in den Kammerspielen on the subject of "Talking About Germany."

1993 Designs the set for Harrison Birtwistle's opera "Punch and Judy," staged under the direction of Pierre Audi at the Dutch Opera in Amsterdam. Exhibition providing an overview of the past three years' work at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark. Takes part in the International Pavilion at the Venice Biennale with the "Male Torso"/ "Männlicher Torso" sculpture, accompanied by oversized drawings. The Musée Nationale d'art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou presents drawings from 1962-1992.

1994 Baselitz designs a stamp for the French postal service. Exhibition of 1981-1993 works at the Saarland Museum in Saarbrücken, which runs concurrently to an exhibition of sculptures 1979-1993 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Writes the "Painting From The Head, On Its Head, Or Out Of The Pot"/ "Malen aus dem Kopf, auf dem Kopf oder aus dem Topf" manifesto for the Gotik - neun monumentale Bilder exhibition at the Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne. The "Ms. Paganism"/ "Frau Paganismus" sculpture is shown at the Anthony d'Offay Gallery in London. In summer, the fabric-covered "Armalamor" sculpture is produced in Italy, and subsequently erected in the lobby of the new Deutsche Bibliothek building in Frankfurt. The end of the year sees the production of the first gold ground pictures.

1995 At the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Diane Waldman puts on the first major retrospective to be seen in a US museum. The exhibition later moves on to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., and Berlin's Nationalgalerie. In autumn, exhibition at Magasin 3 in Stockholm. At the end of the year, starts work on a series of family portraits based on old photographs.

1996 Spends the entire year continuing to work on the family portraits; elements of Slav folk art feature in some of these pictures. Extensive retrospective at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. While in Italy, produces the "Sentimental Holland" and "Mother Of The Garland"/ "Mutter der Girlande" sculptures. These are followed at the end of the year by the major compositions "Us At Home"/ "Wir daheim" and "We Visit The Rhine"/ "Wir besuchen den Rhein," in which the entire family is assembled.

1997 The family portraits are shown at PaceWildenstein in New York and the Dresdner Kunstverein im Residenzschloß. Retrospective at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna. The family portraits are exhibited by PaceWildenstein at New York, and by the Dresdner Kunstverein at the Residenzschloß Dresden. Retrospective at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Bologna. In summer, a further series of paintings based on motifs taken from Slav verre églomisé art is produced in Italy. The touring exhibition "Portraits of Elke" is premiered at the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth. Deutsche Bank presents its Baselitz Collection at the Maly Manezh Exhibition Hall, Moskwa. In 1998, the Collection can be seen at the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Baselitz completes the "Mondrian's Sister" / "Mondrian's Schwester" sculpture.

1998 The Museo Rufino Tamayo presents the first retrospective of Baselitz's work in Mexico City. The oversized paintings "Friedrich's Wife On The Abyss"/ "Friedrichs Frau am Abgrund" and "Friedrich's Melancholy"/ "Friedrich's Melancholie" are produced. A one-year touring exhibition featuring works from the Deutsche Bank Collection - "Georg Baselitz, Künstler im Geschäftsjahr 1998" - opens at the Klosterkirche St. Annen in Kamenz. In New York, PaceWildenstein shows the latest works inspired by Soviet realism. Georg Baselitz lives and works in Derneburg and Imperia.