Exhibition | Georg Baselitz: Devotion | Print at Alan Cristea Gallery | London | Art Week

Georg Baselitz: Devotion

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Thursday, 16 May 2019 to Saturday, 22 June 2019
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 -
6:00pm to 7:30pm

Devotion is the first major exhibition of prints by German artists Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) to be presented in the UK in over 25 years. The exhibition, on display from 16 May to 22 June 2019, will feature 32 etchings based on self-portraits of artists that Baselitz admires or is influenced by, including Frank Auerbach, Cecily Brown, Tracey Emin, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, amongst others. This selection of both Baselitz's predecessors and his peers offer us an insight into the mind of the artist; each self-portrait has been carefully selected and reimagined in Baselitz's own unique style.

Devotion forms part of a wider project which includes paintings and drawings, all on the same subject, inspired by time Baselitz spent at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, preparing for an exhibition in 2018. Here he viewed a full-length portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire and his muse, painted by Henri Rousseau (The Poet and his Muse. Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire and Marie Laurencin, 1909). Baselitz observed that even a portrait made of another person, is always a self-portrait of the artist; "I have painted a lot of portraits of myself and my wife in recent years, many dressed as others - sometimes as my parents, sometimes as Lenin and Stalin, but mostly as Otto Dix's parents ... Last year I bought a lot of old Italian framed and painted portraits to go in them. In the end I didn't put the portraits into the old frames, but Rousseau's double portrait in Basel in its old painted frame still haunted me. My mind was a jumble of portraits, frames and Rousseau, our anti-realist painter."

Devotion is Georg Baselitz's first exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery, London. To coincide with the Bienniale di Venezia a major survey of Baselitz's work, curated by Kosme de Barañano, will open at the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice, from 8 May - 8 September 2019. This is the first exhibition by a living artist in the museum.

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Georg Baselitz was born Hans-Georg Kern in 1938 in Saxony, an area that later became part of East Germany. In 1956, whilst studying painting at the Academy of Art in East Berlin, he was expelled for ‘political immaturity’ for not having conformed to DDR standards in art. He then enrolled at the Academy in West Berlin completing his studies in 1962. During this period he adopted the surname Baselitz, reflecting his birth place, Deutschbaselitz. His first solo exhibition took place in 1963 in Berlin amid controversy when several of his paintings were confiscated by the German authorities on the grounds of public indecency.

In the mid-1960s Baselitz embarked on a series of paintings depicting monumental male figures which he described as Rebels, Shepherds or A New Type (‘Ein neuer Typ’). Viewed within the Romantic tradition, the rebel is often regarded as an outsider associated with the figure of the artist. These paintings are referred to as the ‘Hero’ (‘Helden’) series and were influenced by Italian Mannerist prints which Baselitz saw on a scholarship to Florence in 1965. Four years later, Baselitz introduced what became the signature motif for the next 50 years, depicting all his imagery upside down. During the 1980s and early 1990s, his work became denser and more heavily worked.

A prolific printmaker, Baselitz engages with various technical processes, working extensively in woodcut, linocut and etching. He describes the resistant qualities of copper plates, wood blocks and linoleum blocks as creative forces in his art and has referred to prints as having "symbolic power which has nothing to do with a painting." He is also known for distinctive printed surfaces created with oil paint rather than traditional printer's ink. As well as having his own printing press, Baselitz favours working with a selection of leading print studios and master printers to realise his graphic works.

Baselitz established his international reputation with exhibitions at the Venice Biennale 1980 and Documenta 1983. Solo exhibitions and retrospectives include Kunstmuseum, Basel (2018); Beyeler Foundation, Basel which travelled to Hischhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (2018); CAFA Art Museum, Beijing; Fire Station, Doha (2017); Tate Modern London (2015); Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2009); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007); Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen (2006); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1996); Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995); Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris (1990) and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1983). His paintings, sculptures and prints are in the collections of major museums around the world.

Georg Baselitz lives and works in Basel, Switzerland; Lake Ammersee, Germany; and Imperia, Italy.

+44 (0)20 7439 1866

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43 Pall Mall



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