Gagosian is pleased to present two exhibitions highlighting the myriad accomplishments of painter and sculptor Georg Baselitz. These exhibitions will be held concurrently in both the uptown and downtown New York galleries.
In Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery, Georg Baselitz: The Turning Point: Paintings 1969–71 documents a revolutionary shift in the artist’s paintings that began in 1969. Although Baselitz had previously explored a range of artistic styles as diverse as Northern Renaissance panel painting and New York School abstraction, he significantly departed from long-standing artistic conventions when he started in 1969 to turn his painted subjects on their heads. The canvases on view are portraits—depicting Baselitz’s wife, his friends, or art world luminaries—or rural landscapes that have been inverted. Baselitz’s avant-garde approach, a reaction against the perspectival system employed in figure painting since the Renaissance, has since become characteristic of his painting. An intended effect of such portraits and landscapes is that they seem at first glance to be complete abstractions. Of his inverted subjects, Baselitz has said, “I must take everything which has been an object of painting—landscape, the portrait and the nude, for example—and paint it upside-down. That is the way to liberate representation from content.”
On view in the downtown Chelsea gallery, Georg Baselitz: Recent Sculptures features monumental wooden sculptures produced since 2003, as well as several works dating from 1996 through 1997. Baselitz, who has created more than fifty sculptures in wood since 1980, has noted that the medium offers unique advantages: “The same problem can be addressed more directly in sculpture, which is less hedged about with qualifications than painting. It is more primitive and brutal.” These larger-than-life-size carvings have each been hewn from a single tree trunk with the aid of an ax and a chainsaw—a contemporary approach to traditional German woodcarving. While they invoke the human form, the sculptures do not recall specific people. Paint applied to the figures’ surfaces suggests clothing or facial features, but the blocky, hulking bodies seem almost to be caricatures when seen from afar. Baselitz’s sculptures, like his paintings, waver between figuration and abstraction, and particularly when viewed at close range, they emphasize surface texture, light, and shadow.
Accompanying Georg Baselitz: The Turning Point: Paintings 1969–71 is a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Rudi Fuchs, former director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Georg Baselitz: Recent Sculptures is also documented by an illustrated catalogue, with a foreword by Michael Baxandall, professor emeritus of European art at the University of California, Berkeley; and an essay by Peter Nisbet, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Georg Baselitz: What if...
Richard Calvocoressi narrates a tour of an exhibition of new paintings by Georg Baselitz in San Francisco, describing the visual effect of these luminous compositions and explaining their relationship to earlier works by the artist.
Artist to Artist: Georg Baselitz and Zeng Fanzhi
On the occasion of Georg Baselitz: Years later at Gagosian, Hong Kong, Zeng Fanzhi composed a written foreword for the exhibition’s catalogue and a video message to the German painter. Baselitz wrote a letter of thanks to the Chinese artist for his insightful thoughts.
Georg Baselitz: Life, Love, Death
Richard Calvocoressi writes on the painter’s latest bodies of work, detailing the techniques employed and their historical precedents.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2020
The Summer 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Joan Jonas’s Mirror Piece 1 (1969) on its cover.
On the occasion of a career-spanning exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Richard Calvocoressi tracks the evolution of Georg Baselitz’s development from his early education in East Germany to his revelatory trip to Florence, in 1965, and beyond.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Extended through March 23, 2019
January 24–March 23, 2019
555 West 24th Street, New York