Georg Baselitz

b. 1938, Germany

With a career spanning over six decades, Georg Baselitz (b. 1938, Saxony, Germany) first came to prominence in post-war Germany as a painter. From 1969 onwards, he has been known for inverting – or turning upside down – human forms and other motifs within expressionistic paintings which attempt to move away from content and narrative. Baselitz instead focussed on form, colour and texture, bringing new perspectives to the tradition of German Expressionism. He turned to sculpture from 1979, continuing to explore tensions between the figurative and the abstract through crude approximations of figures and body parts carved from wood.

Baselitz’s expansive body of work charts his contemplations on the complexities of representing the human figure in art. Although Baselitz’s work has been met with controversy – first in the 1960s when he emerged with transgressive paintings and again in the 1980s with the advent of his sculptural practice – he has influenced generations of artists by offering a nuanced approach. His work, which is deeply rooted in his identity as a German artist, grapples with the explosion of conceptual debates around national identity, aesthetic frameworks and the human condition since the second half of the 20th Century.  

Baselitz’s recent exhibitions include Baselitz – Naked Masters at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2023); Georg Baselitz: Six Decades of Drawings, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York (2022); Baselitz – The retrospective, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2021); Baselitz – Academy, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice (2019); Georg Baselitz: Six Decades, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2018); and Georg Baselitz, The Heroes,  Städel Museum, Frankfurt (2016), among many others.