Georg Baselitz


Georg Baselitz was born Hans-Georg Kern in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, in what was later East Germany. In 1956, Baselitz moved to East Berlin, where he studied painting at the Hochschule für Bildende und Angewandte Kunst. He studied from 1957 to 1962 at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste, West Berlin. During this period, he adopted the surname Baselitz, taken from the name of his birthplace..

In searching for alternatives to Socialist Realism and Art Informel, he became interested in anamorphosis and in the art of the mentally ill. With fellow student Eugen Schönebeck, Baselitz staged an exhibition in an abandoned house, accompanied by the Pandämonisches Manifest I, 1. Version (1961), which was published as a poster announcing the exhibition. Schönebeck and Baselitz composed a second manifesto the following year..

Baselitz emerged as a pioneer of German Neo-Expressionist painting in the 1960s. It has been noted that his his work interprets the confronting realities of the modern age and explores what it is to be German in a postwar world. In 1965, he spent six months in the Villa Romana, Florence, the first of his yearly visits to Italy. Baselitz moved to Osthofen, near Worms, in 1966, and he began to make woodcuts and started a series of fracture paintings of rural motifs. During this time, he also painted his first pictures in which the subject is upside down in an effort to overcome the representational, content-driven character of his earlier work. In 1975, Baselitz moved to Derneburg, near Hildesheim, and also traveled for the first time to New York and to Brazil for the São Paulo Bienal. In 1976, a retrospective of his work was organized by the Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich. He established a studio in Florence, which he used until 1981. Baselitz was appointed instructor in 1977 and professor the following year at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe, Germany.

In 1980, his reputation established, Baselitz was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale.The first volume of the catalogue raisonné of his graphic work was published in 1983 by Galerie Jahn, Munich. In 1987, Baselitz established a studio in Imperia, Italy.

Major retrospectives of his work have been held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1983; traveled to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Kunsthalle Basel); Centre Pompidou, Paris (1993); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995; traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1996); and Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007). Baselitz has represented Germany at the Venice Biennale (1980) and participated in Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany (1982)..

The artist lives in Munich and Imperia, Italy.