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Georg Baselitz

Richard Calvocoressi


The authorized monograph on one of the most influential and respected artists of our time, written with the full co-operation of Baselitz himself

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A prolific artist with a protean output, Georg Baselitz has rethought the conventions of a range of media, predominantly painting and sculpture, over the course of a career of some sixty years. Born in 1938, Baselitz was expelled from art school in East Berlin in 1956 for ‘socio-political immaturity’, and moved to the western half of the city. By the late 1950s, he had rejected the dominant tendencies of both sides of the country and his singular achievement was to reintroduce the figure, compromised and discredited though it was by both Nazism and Communism, into art. By drawing attention to art by ‘outsiders’, such as psychiatric patients, and invoking a Parisian model of existentialist art and literature, Baselitz proposed an alternative European tradition that did not eliminate the human subject.

In alluding later to movements in German painting such as Expressionism as well as to artists like Munch, he also consciously rehabilitated the kind of art that was condemned by Hitler as ‘degenerate’. The book follows the development of Baselitz’s unique style from his earliest work through to the most recent creations of his eighth decade. Calvocoressi’s masterful construction of a chronological narrative helps us to evaluate Baselitz’s work in terms of the disruptions of his life – historical upheavals witnessed alongside an astonishing career.


'Beautifully written with revealing insight into the artist’s motivations at each stage, it is the most authoritative work on Baselitz to date'
The Art Newspaper

'Brilliantly illustrated and documented by the fine narrative provided here by esteemed author and interlocutor Richard Calvocoressi'
The World of Interiors

'Beautifully illustrated'
The Telegraph

'Elegantly written and splendidly illustrated, this is by far the best study of Baselitz in English'
The Spectator

'Meticulous … With its grasp of the relevant art-historical readings and cultural-historic issues, and its compelling readings of so many individual works, this new, definitive publication is a masterclass'
The Times Literary Supplement

'Sumptuously illustrated … Calvocoressi’s achievement is to blend art and biography into what will prove to be a useful first monograph in English on this major German artist'
The Burlington Magazine

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback in slipcase

Size: 30.8 x 24.0 cm

Extent: 392 pp

Illustrations: 406

Publication date: 13 May 2021

ISBN: 9780500094150

Contents List

Introduction • 1. Early Years: Third Reich and East Germany 1938 – 1956 • 2. West Berlin: Finding a Voice 1957 – 1965 • 3. Rural isolation: Osthoven and Forst 1966 – 1974 • 4. Schloss Derneburg: from New York to the Venice Biennale 1975 – 1980 • 5. International recognition: from A New Spirit in Painting to the fall of the Wall 1981 – 1989 • 6. Reunification and reassessment 1990 – 2004 • 7. Remix: mortality and later work 2005 –

About the Author

Richard Calvocoressi is currently a director at Gagosian Gallery, and is a former Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. He wrote the catalogue text for Baselitz’s first exhibition in a commercial gallery in London, and in 1983 was author of the main catalogue essay for his first retrospective in Britain at the Whitechapel Gallery. As curator responsible for German art at Tate, Calvocoressi was instrumental in the acquisition of his works for the UK national collection.