“The object expresses nothing at all. Painting is not a means to an end. On the contrary, painting is autonomous. And I said to myself: If this is the case, then I must take everything which has been an object of painting – the landscape, the portrait and the nude, for example – and paint it upside-down. That is the best way to liberate representation from context.”- Georg BaselitzGeorg Baselitz is a German painter who studied in the former East Germany, before moving to what was then the country of West Germany. Baselitz's style is interpreted by the Northern American as Neo-Expressionist, but from a European perspective, it is more seen as postmodern. The German artist started painting the images in his colorful and energetic pictures upside down, challenging the conventional way we look at paintings. Georg Baselitz's paintings took a matter of weeks to complete. The goopy paint drips down the canvas and his paintings are very 'masculine', in the same way that Jackson Pollock's are. Both artists use their whole body in producing their works. Baselitz is one of the world's best-selling living artists.
Georg Baselitz was born January 23 1938 as Hans-Georg Kern in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, in what was later to be East Germany. His father was an elementary-school teacher and the family lived in the local schoolhouse. Baselitz's first encountered art in albums of nineteenth-century pencil drawings in the school library. He also assisted nature photographer Helmut Drechsler on occasional ornithological shoots.
In 1956, Baselitz moved to East Berlin, where he studied painting at the Hochscule für bildende und angewandte Kunst. After being expelled, he studied from 1957 to 1962 at the Hochscule der bildenden Künst, 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, Georg Baselitz became interested in anamorphosis and in the art of the mentally ill.With fellow student Eugen Schönenebeck, 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 1965,Georg Baselitz spent six months in the Villa Romana, Florence, the first of his yearly visits to Italy. Baselitz moved to Osthofen, near Worms, in 1966, where he began to make woodcuts and started a series of fracture paintings. During this time, Baslitz 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 Baselitz's work was organized by the Staatsgalerie Moderner Künst, Munich. He also 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 Baselitz's painting "More Blondes" (shown here) we see harsh finger and brush strokes used to depict this upside-down female nude, imprisoned by a heavy black border. Georg Baselitz achieved the strong impact of the black paint by actually walking on the canvas. He has portrayed the woman cruelly, without compassion or subtlety. Muted in color, her image is stark and simple, with no distracting detail. Georg Baselitz paints violent and distinctive images with topsy-turvy figures and liberated brushwork.
He also makes sculpture by fiercely cutting away at a massive chunk of wood, leaving a hacked figure which he often dabs with red pigment. The friendly sculpture, Sliced Head of 1986 is an example of Baselitz having fun with his work, a bust of a head is indeed sliced and attacked wood, with a slap of bright pink paint right across the face. In 1980, Baselitz was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. During the 1980’s and into the 1990s, his work was frequently exhibited in Cologne and New York.