Baselitz, Georg

Georg Baselitz was born Hans Georg Kern on January 23, 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. After being expelled, 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, together with a second version, as a poster announcing the exhibition.

In 1963, Baselitz’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin, caused a public scandal; several paintings were confiscated for public indecency. 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 1980, his reputation established, Baselitz was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale.   In 1983, he left the academy in Karlsruhe to assume a professorship at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, which he gave up in 1988 but returned to in the early 1990s.

Since the late 1980s, solo exhibitions and retrospectives of Baselitz’s work have been presented at the Sala d’Arme di Palazzo Vecchio, Florence in 1988; Nationalgalerie, Berlin in 1990; Kunsthaus Zürich in 1990; Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich in 1992 and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1995 (traveling to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and Nationalgalerie, Berlin).

The artist currently lives and works in Derneburg and Imperia.