Georg Baselitz Hon RA
Georg Baselitz Hon RA
A painter, printmaker, sculptor and draughtsman, the work of Georg Baselitz explores collective, historical and personal themes, often featuring subjects repeatedly across different mediums.
Born Hans-Georg Kern in 1938, Baselitz grew up in Saxony, an area that later became the GRD. Whilst studying painting at the Academy of Art in East Berlin (1956), Baselitz was sent down after two terms for “socio-political immaturity”. He then applied at the Academy in West Berlin and moved there in 1957, graduating from the masterclass in 1963. During this period he adopted the surname Baselitz, reflecting his place of birth Deutschbaselitz.
The first of many solo exhibitions was held in 1963 at Galerie Werner & Katz in Berlin. After his scholarship in Florence in 1965, Baselitz embarked on a series of paintings depicting monumental male figures within mythical, ruined landscapes that would become known as the “Hero”-paintings. It was in 1969 when he decided to create and display work upside down in order to re-focus the viewer on the pure pictorial merits of the painting and to emphasise the abstract qualities of the composition. In the 1970s he was apparently working outside the mainstream, which was dominated at the time by Conceptual Art practice. By the 1980s he had established an international reputation (cemented by exhibitions such as the documenta 5 and 7 (1972, 1982), the Venice Biennale in 1980 or the Royal Academy’s groundbreaking show A New Spirit in Painting in 1981. Since the early 1980s he was making monumental wooden sculptures of figures and heads with rudimentary and deliberately irregular forms. In 2005 Baselitz introduced the “Remix” in his work, in which he has returned to key phases of his own art history and made new versions of his work, which have allowed him to revisit and excavate the past, pushing his own painterly vocabulary to create works that are fresh and liberated.
He has had major solo exhibitions throughout the globe over the last decades and exhibits regularly at galleries in London, New York, Paris, Salzburg and Berlin. Amongst other internationally notable decorations he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in 2004.
Born: 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, Germany
Elected Hon RA: 26 May 1999
Preferred media: Painting and Sculpture
The old picture is like the old days. You see, if painters want to try to defy the ageing process, they have to stop painting straight after their first picture. And if painters don't jump out of the window in time, they grow old, and then it's up to them to see how they fill the rest of their days and find something to do.