Albert Oehlen - Portrait

Albert Oehlen

Germany 1954

Neo-expressionism, Neue Wilde

Albert Oehlen
Albert Oehlen
March 25, 2017
Music, Gestalt, .

Coming from the 1980’s, the era when traditional media was out of the fashion, thanks to the emerge of performance art and video, Albert Oehlen and his contemporaries, saw the potential in painting as an ideal form through which they could question the art itself. By exploring the texture, language, structure, and experiences he manages to refresh worn genres of paintings like portraiture, collage, and gestures of abstraction. In spite of new technical innovations and criticism, Oehlen has succeeded to maintain old, and explore new possibilities, by experimenting with information and images. In this way new generations will be able to continue with the process of the invention, embracing contemporary approaches and ideas that would generate new modes and styles. His works are the reflection of art and life today, representing contradictions in such a bold way, by bringing together roughness and sophistication, neutrality and color, and emphasizing them all with a touch of hysteria.

Albert Oehlen german martin untitled home work gagosian gallery and berlin kunst museum contact view
Albert Oehlen – Evilution, London, 2002 – Photo copyright of the Zabludowicz Collection, the artist and Thomas Dane Associates

Albert Oehlen’s Education and Influences on Art

Oehlen was born in 1954 in Krefeld, Germany. Early in the career, Albert was fascinated with the American Action painting of the nineteen-fifties, defined as the histrionic mode of pictorial rhetoric, which imitates de Kooning, whom he considers a hero. At the beginning, Oehlen was mentored by Joseph Beuys, but there were other Neue Wilde Neo-expressionists that influenced him like Anselm Kiefer, Blinky Palermo, Jörg Immendorff, and of course Gerhard Richter. Oehlen studied art under Sigmar Polke at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg until 1981. Albert Oehlen took up painting in the late 1970’s, and soon became associated with the Cologne art scene, in which he collaborated with his brother Markus Oehlen and Georg Herold. After getting acquainted with Martin Kippenberger , and sharing a house with Kippenberger in Spain, in 1988 Oehlen turned to abstraction. He sees abstraction as a form of gesture or geometry, in a superimposed position, sometimes combined or mixed with new figurative shapes. Between 2000 and 2009 he worked as a professor in painting at the Kunst Akademie, Dusseldorf.

Albert Oehlen took up painting in the late 1970’s, and soon became associated with the Cologne art scene

Albert Oehlen use untitled oil home art work view in exhibition at krefeld and max hetzler galerie and museum
Albert Oehlen – Titanium Cat With Laboratory Tested Animal, 1999 – Photo via

Amazing Techniques and Style

The focus is on the process of painting and unpredictability, where Albert sets certain limits, especially in the pallet of colors, but also adds mirrors to his canvases, and relies on technology to generate designs. In this way, he tries to have a different approach to each work and does not allow himself to be repeated. This german artist is considered one of the pioneers that used simple drawing software on the Texas Instruments computer in 1992 to deploy feverish design in his black & white series. His paintings are to some extent neutral, neither seductive nor beautiful. The accent in his paintings is on eclecticism and impulse, which he ingeniously and skillfully expresses by using tools such as fingers, brushes, and collage. By working in a variety of techniques and imageries, and while exploring mediums as a genre, the artist style varies from abstraction to realism, often imitating and provoking traditional forms and models. In the artwork Kaleidoscope from 1994, Oehlen leaves the comfort zone, by mixing painting with silkscreen and creating unintentional confusion that belongs neither to expressive nor mechanical processes. He became famous for his ’attacks’ with oil paint on archaic and digital landscapes, mutating self-portraits, or on interiors. The Abstand painting from 2006 shows the continuity of Oehlen’s motives, which combine 1940’s and 50’s symbols that are mutually exclusive.

He is considered one of the pioneers that used simple drawing software on the Texas Instruments computer

Albert Oehlen works use kippenberger untitled oil work in german max hetzler galerie hamburg, gagosian museum berlin
Albert Oehlen – Storm, collaboration with Johnatan Messe, 2004 (Left) / Albert Oehlen – The greeting, collaboration with Johnatan Messe, 2003 (Right) – Photo via

Exhibitions Around the World

The brave approach that includes motifs of technology and sexuality challenge the traditional way of life. Oehlen’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. His paintings have been held in collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the Skarstedt Gallery, and at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, as well as at the Galerie Max Hetzler in Basel and Berlin. He has also displayed his new art in exhibitions in places like the Galerie Ascan Crone, Hamburg, the Renaissance Society in Chicago and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Oehlen also had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and at the Thomas Dane Gallery in London. His works are also shown at the Nolan/Eckman Gallery, New York.

The artist is represented by the VogelArtedition Gallery in Munich.

He lives and works in Cologne, Germany and La Palma, Spain.

Featured image: Albert Oehlen – Portrait – Photo by Katherine McMahon
All other images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExihbition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Albert Oehlen- Elevator Paintings: TreesGagosian Gallery, New York, USASolo
2016Albert OehlenGuggenheim Museum, Bilbao, SpainSolo
2015Home and GardenNew Museum, New York, USASolo
2014Albert Oehlen: New PaintingsGagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California, USASolo
2013Interieurs Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, GermanySolo
2013Albert Oehlen. Malerei (cat.)mumok - museum moderner kunst, stiftung ludwig wien, Vienna, AustriaSolo
2013Albert Oehlen- Recent workGagosian Gallery, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2013Moderne Farbkonzepte Conceptos modernos del color (cat.), La Casa Encendida, Madrid, SpainSolo
2013Riotous Baroque,Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, SpainGroup
2013Group Show,Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2013Out of the house, Works from the Cranford Collection (cat.),Sala de Arte, Fundación Banco Santander, Madrid, SpainGroup
2012Wunder,Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, GermanyGroup
2012Contemporary Galleries: 1980 – Now,MoMA - Museum of MOdern Art, New York, USAGroup
2012Looking Back for the FutureKunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Es gibt, There isb-05 Kunst- und Kulturzentrum, Montabaur, GermanyGroup
2012The Slide Show. Mekanism SkateboardsFRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, FranceGroup
2012Riotous BaroqueKunsthaus Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Mix Remix,Luhring Augustine, New York, USAGroup
2012UntitledKunstmuseum Bonn (cat.), GermanySolo
2012This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980sMuseum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USAGroup
2012Circus WolsWeserburg - Museum of Modern Art, Bremen, GermanyGroup
2012DrawingsGagosian Gallery, Rome, ItalySolo
2012Albert OehlenGagosian Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2011Wonder (Miracle). Art, Science and Religion from the 4th Century to the Present Deichtorhallen Hamburg; traveled to Kunsthalle Krems, GermanyGroup
2011Museum der Wunsche Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, MUMOK, Vienna, GermanyGroup
2011HalleluhwahHommage a CAN, Galerie ABTART, Stuttgart, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2011The Boy Who Robbed You A Few Minutes Before Arriving At The BallGalerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2011Georg Baselitz, Eugene Leroy, Albert Oehlen, Nicolas KruppBasel, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Compass- Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art New York (cat.)Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2011MMK 1991-201120 Jahre Gegenwart, Museum fur Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt,Main, GermanyGroup
2011Galerie Nathalie ObadiaParis, FranceSolo
2011UntitledThomas Dane Gallery, London, UKSolo
2011Untitled Carre dArt Musee dart contemporain de Nîmes (cat.), FranceSolo
2011UntitledGalerie Max Hetzler (cat.),Berlin, GermanySolo
2010UntitledGalerie Seiler, Munich, Germany Solo
2010Albert OehlenWerke aus der Sammlung, Sammlung Grasslin, St. Georgen, GermanySolo
2010Happy EndKunsthalle Goppingen, Goppingen, GermanyGroup
2010Mit Kopf und Hand– Variationen zur ZeichnungAkademie Galerie, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010Das SelbstportraitKunsthalle Baden-Baden, GermanyGroup
2010Der Westen leuchtetKunstmuseum Bonn, GermanyGroup
2010BABELFrac – Auvergne, Clermont Ferrand, FranceGroup
2010curated by_vienna 2010, Albert OehlenGalerie Mezzanin, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2010Mehr Teppich More Carpets Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Albert OehlenFingermaleriei, Emil Schumacher Museum, Hagen, GermanySolo
2010Albert OehlenAlfonso Artiaco, Naples, ItalySolo
2009Albert Oehlen, A Vanguard with Decorum-new works on paperCorbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, Illinois (solo)Group
2009Albert Oehlen, Computer PaintingsSkarstdt Gallery, New YorkSolo
2009Albert OehlenLuhring Augustine, New YorkSolo
2009Albert Oehlen,Museo de Capodimonte, Naples, Italy Solo
2009Papier Galerie Barbel Grasslin, Frankfurt am Main, GermanySolo
2009Realite abstraite (cat) Musee d Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, FranceSolo
2008UntitledThomas Dane Gallery (cat.), London, UK Solo
2008Paintings 1988-2008John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CaliforniaSolo
2008Albert Oehlen, 2008Galeria Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid, SpainSolo
2008Albert OehlenGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany Solo
2008Albert OehlenGalerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France Solo
2008UntitledThomas Dane Gallery, London Solo
2007UntitledGalerie Barbel Grasslin, Frankfurt Solo
2007Klio. Eine kurze Geschichte der Kunst in Euramerika nach 1945, ZKM Museum fur neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, GermanyGroup
2007FOR HITZ OND BRAND Museum Appenzell, Appenzell, SwitzerlandGroup
2007Accidental Paintint Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative(curated by Jens Hoffmann) Thomas Dane Gallery, LondonGroup
2007There is never a Stopp and never a finish – Werke aus der Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger BahnhofHamburger Bahnhof, Museum fur Gegenwart, BerlinGroup
200720E79 Inaugural ExhibitionPer Skarstedt Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Künstlerplakate, Von Picasso bis heuteSeedamm Kulturzentrum, Pfaffikon SZ, SwitzerlandGroup
2007UntitledKathe Kollwitz Museum Koln, CologneGroup
2007Leg ShowPatrick Painter Inc., Los AngelesGroup
2007Kommando Friedrich Hölderlin BerlinGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin (cat.)Group
2007Wer hat Angst vor der Hamburger KrankheitGalerie Grolitsch, MunichGroup
2007Prints (with Christopher Wool)1018 ART, New York, USASolo
2006I Will Always Champion Bad Painting (cat)Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK Solo
2006Painter of Light (cat)Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, USASolo
2006UntitledMuseum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, BelgiumSolo
2006I Will Always Champion Good PaintingWhite Chapel Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2006Time 2 Kill, with Darren AlmondGalerie Max Hetzler, BerlinSolo
2005Albert Oehlen: I Know Whom You Showed Last Summer Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2005Albert Oehlen Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2005UntitledSezession, ViennaGroup
2005UntitledFRAC AuvergneGroup
2005UntitledDomus Artium 2002, SalamancaGroup
2005New Paintings and Collages Thomas Dane Gallery, London, UKSolo
2005UntitledGalerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France (solo)Group
2005Rennkostüm y los UDOsGaleria Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid, Spain Solo
2005Albert Oehlen, Malerei 1980-2004, Selbstportrait mit 50millionenfacher Lichtgeschwindigkeit (cat)Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany Solo
2005Spiegelbilder 1982-1985 (cat)Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany Solo
2005FRAC Auvergne - Ecuries de Chazerat (cat)Clermont-Ferrand, France Solo
2005Albert Oehlen Paintings 1980-1981 Skarstedt Fine Art, New York, USA Solo
2004Spezialbilder - Albert Oehlen Jonathan Meese (cat.), Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin; Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, GermanySolo
2004Albert Oehlen, Malerei 1980-2004, Selbstportrait mit 50millionenfacher Lichtgeschwindigkeit (cat)Musee Cantonale des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, SpainSolo
2004The Good LifeNolan and Eckman Gallery, New York, USA Solo
2004UntitledSalzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria Solo
2004UntitledGalerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany Solo
2004UntitledLuhring Augustine Gallery, New YorkGroup
2004UntitledMusee Cantonal des Beaux Arts, LausanneGroup
2004UntitledGaleria Fortes Vilaca, Sao PauloGroup
2004Hot Ice. Recent Painting from the Scharpff Collection, Hamburg Kunstalle, GermanyGroup
2003Biennale dArt Contemporain de Lyon 2003 Lyon, FranceGroup
2003Painting Pictures: Painting and Media in the Digital AgeKunstmuseum Wolfsburg, GermanyGroup
2003Alfonso Artiaco Naples, ItalySolo
2003Vier Gemälde, Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin, GermanySolo
2003UntitledGalerie Barbel Grasslin, Frankfurt, Main, Germany Solo
2003Tree-drawings Richard Telles Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2002Patrick Painter, Inc Santa Monica, USA Solo
2002UntitledGalerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, FranceGroup
2002Albert Oehlen Musee dArt moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France (catalogue)Group
2002UntitledGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany(catalogue)Group
2002UntitledCatherine Bastide, Brussel, BelgiumGroup
2002Painting on the Move Kunstmuseum Basel Museum fur Gegenwartskunst Basel, Kunsthalle Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2002Offene Haare, Offene Pferde - Amerikanische Kunst 1933-45 Kölnischer Kunstverein Cologne, Germany (catalogue)Group
2001Vom Eindruck zum Ausdruck Grösslin Collection Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany (catalogue)Group
2001Abbild recent portraiture and depiction Steirischer Herbst Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (catalogue)Group
2001Works on paper Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, IrelandGroup
2001Salons de musique Musees de Strasbourg, FranceGroup
2001Musterkarte Modelos de pintura en Alemania 2001Group
2001UntitledGaleria Heinrich Ehrhardt, Goethe Institute, Centro Conde Duque, Galeria Elba Benito, Madrid, Spain (catalogue)Group
2001UntitledIllingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, CanadaGroup
2001UntitledLuhring Augustine Gallery, New YorkGroup
2001Self Portraits Skarstedt Fine Art, New York (catalogue)Group
2001UntitledCheckers Galerie Barbel Grasslin, Frankfurt,Main, Germany (catalogue)Group
2001UntitledKerlin Gallery, Dublin, IrelandGroup
2001Pinturas y Dibujos Galeria Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid, Spain Solo
2001UntitledLuhring Augustine Gallery, New York, USASolo
2001Patrick Painter, Inc Santa Monica, USASolo
2001Art & Public Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2001Terminale Erfrischung: Computercollagen und Malerei (cat) Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, GermanySolo
2000Höre auf zu arbeiten die Erregung nimmt Dir die Kraft Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2000UntitledDas Privileg Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2000Patrick Painter Santa Monica, USAGroup
2000Der Ritt der sieben Nutten - das war mein Jahrhundert (with Markus Oehlen) Stadtisches Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany (catalogue)Group
2000Galerie Nathalie ObadiaFIAC, Paris, FranceGroup
2000UntitledHande weg von der Liebe Galerie Ascan Crone, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2000In Between Expo 2000 Hannover, Germany (catalogue)Group
2000It May Be a Year of Thirteen Moons But it's Still the Year of Culture, organised by Charisma Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, ScotlandGroup
2000Glee: Painting Now, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary ArtPalm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, USAGroup
2000UntitledSalon Delfina, London, EnglandGroup
1999Lithographies Hostrup-Predersen and Johansen Valby, DenmarkGroup
1999Refuse, Light, and a Joke Invented in Drukeness Luhring Augustine Gallery NYGroup
1998UntitledGalerie Nathalie Obadia, ParisGroup
1998UntitledAT, Galerie Margo Leavin, Los AngelesGroup
1998Recollection Kunstverein GrazGroup
1998Fast Forward - Image Kunstverein HambourgGroup
1997Display Charlottenborg Exhibition Hall, CopenhagueGroup
1997UntitledAchenbach Kunstausstellungen, DüsseldorfGroup
1996UntitledGakerie Juana de Aizpuru, MadridGroup
1996Provins - Legende I Museet for Samtidskunst RoskildeGroup
1995Dancende Meisjes - Dancing Girls Stedelijk Museum AmsterdamGroup
1995UntitledGalerie Friedrich Petzel NYGroup
1994Herbert Brandl, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool Museum of Modern Art PragueGroup
1993Der Zerbrochene Spiegel Kunsthalle, Wein Deichtorhallen HambourgGroup
1993UntitledGalerie Samia Saouma ParisGroup
1992Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Williams Galerie Margo Leavin, Los AngelesGroup
1991Metropolis Martin-Gropius-Bau, BerlinGroup
1990Prints & Multiples,Luhring Augustine Hetzler, Santa MonicaGroup
1990UntitledGalerie Isy Brachot BrusselsGroup
1987UntitledGalerie Grasslin - Ehrhardt FrankfurtGroup
1982UntitledGalerie Max Hetzler StuttgartGroup