b. 1938, Deutschbaselitz, Germany
Georg Baselitz was born Hans-Georg Kern in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, in what was later East Germany. In 1956, Baselitz moved to East Berlin, where he studied painting at the Hochschule für Bildende und Angewandte Kunst. After being expelled, he studied from 1957 to 1962 at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste, 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, he became interested in anamorphosis and in the art of the mentally ill. With fellow student Eugen Schönebeck, Baselitz staged an exhibition in an abandoned house, accompanied by the Pandämonisches Manifest I, 1. Version (1961), which was published as a poster announcing the exhibition. Schönebeck and Baselitz composed a second manifesto the following year.
In 1963, Baselitz’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin, caused a public scandal; several paintings were confiscated for public indecency. In 1965, he spent six months in the Villa Romana, Florence, the first of his yearly visits to Italy. Baselitz moved to Osthofen, near Worms, in 1966, and he began to make woodcuts and started a series of fracture paintings of rural motifs. During this time, he 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 his work was organized by the Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich. He 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 1980, his reputation established, Baselitz was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. During the 1980s and into the 1990s, his work was frequently exhibited at the Michael Werner Galleries, Cologne and New York. In 1983, he left the academy in Karlsruhe to assume a professorship at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, which he gave up in 1988 but returned to in the early 1990s. The first volume of the catalogue raisonné of his graphic work was published in 1983 by Galerie Jahn, Munich. In 1987, Baselitz established a studio in Imperia, Italy.
Since the late 1980s, solo exhibitions and retrospectives of Baselitz’s work have been presented at the Sala d’Arme di Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, in 1988 (traveling to the Hamburger Kunsthalle); Nationalgalerie, Berlin, in 1990; Kunsthaus Zürich in 1990 (traveling to Kunsthalle Düsseldorf); Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, in 1992 (traveling to Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, and Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1995 (traveling to Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Nationalgalerie, Berlin);