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Six Decades of Georg Baselitz's Art at The Hirshhorn

  • The Brücke Chorus
  • Der nackte Mann
June 20, 2018
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via this email: andreja.velimirovic@widewalls.ch

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is getting ready to host Baselitz: Six Decades, an exhibition that will be the artist’s first major US retrospective in the last twenty years.

Since the Hirshhorn hosted Baselitz’s first-ever major retrospective in 1996, it was only fitting that this museum was selected as an ideal location for the upcoming exhibition. Baselitz: Six Decades will build on the 1996 milestone by cementing Baselitz’s reputation as one of the most original and inventive figurative artists of his generation.

Besides being an opportunity to see works by one of Germany’s greatest living artists, the show will also be a chance for Americans to see a few artworks that were never before shown on the US soil.

Da. Porträt (Franz Dahlem) - Beginging
Left: Georg Baselitz – Franz Dahlem (Da. Portrait (Franz Dahlem)), 1969. Synthetic resin on canvas, Privately owned. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann / Right: Georg Baselitz – Beginging, 2011. Oil on canvas, Private collection. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann

Baselitz: Six Decades

Baselitz: Six Decades will be presenting over 100 works, highlighting every phase of Baselitz’s six-decade-long career in art making. The exhibition will feature his iconic paintings and works on paper, as well as the artist’s experiments with bronze sculptures.

Among many others, Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu is extremely pleased that her institution will showcase works by the great Georg Baselitz:

Throughout his career, Baselitz has pioneered the return of painting to figuration, and his creative genius combined with his message about the inherent strength of the everyday human condition make this exhibition particularly timely.

Thanks to some excellent curating, the showcase shall allow US audiences to experience the full scope of Baselitz’s powerful investigations of the human figure. A special additional accent shall be placed on the influence American Abstract Expressionists had on his formative early work.

Schlafzimmer - Bonjour Monsieur Courbet
Left: Georg Baselitz – Bedroom, 1975. Oil and charcoal on canvas, Privately owned. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann / Right: Georg Baselitz, Bonjour Monsieur Courbet, 1965. Oil on canvas, Collection Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi

The Show’s Structure

The ultimate goal of the exhibition show shall be tracing the foundational impact of Baselitz’s career as he pushed through the conventional boundaries of painting and sculpture through lifelong artistic experimentation.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition will begin with paintings and works on paper made during the late 1950s, when Baselitz was first influenced by the Art Informel, an artistic movement that abandoned geometric abstraction in favor of pursuing a more intuitive form of expression.

Among many interesting works on display, Baselitz: Six Decades will feature The Naked Man (1962), a piece depicting a controversial image of a male figure symbolically representing the pervasive discontent with Germany’s socialist politics. The show will, of course, present various works from the Heroes and Fracture series, as well as show his notorious and groundbreaking upside-down paintings.

Finally, the forthcoming event will pay close attention to the output over the past 20 years, a period that saw the artist make notable shifts in terms of the subject matter, color palette and overall technique.

Rotgrüner - Win. D.
Left: Georg Baselitz, – Red-Green One, 1965. Oil on canvas, Privately owned. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann / Right: Georg Baselitz – Win. D., 1959. Oil on canvas, Privately owned. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann

Georg Baselitz Art Exhibition at The Hirshhorn

Not only will the upcoming show let viewers see works by a greatly talented art maker, but it will also let them analyze a continued impact on contemporary American painting and sculpture.

Organized in partnership with the Fondation Beyeler and coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday, Baselitz: Six Decades shall be held between the 21st of June and the 16th of September 2018 at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., United States.

Featured images: Georg Baselitz – The Brücke Chorus, 1983. Oil on canvas © Georg Baselitz 2018. Private collection. © 2014 Christie’s Images Limited; The Naked Man, 1962. Oil on canvas, © Georg Baselitz 2018. Private collection, Seattle. Photo: Richard Brown; Remix, 2006. Oil on canvas, Privately owned. © Georg Baselitz 2018. Photo: Jochen Littkemann. All images courtesy of The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.