Norman Rosenthal – Baselitz

Baselitz began his artistic development in 1961-1962 with the publication of the manifesto “Pandämonium” and a first series of paintings which, in the guise of psychological illness or obscenity, more or less violently confronted conformist bourgeois art. In 1966, the artist moved towards a mode of painting detached from contents, exempt from anecdotal cues and realistic-descriptive motifs. His first steps on this path were the Streifenbilder from the late 60s, particularly well represented in the exhibition. But the decisive transition was the reversal of the subject painted, practised from 1969 on. Initially painted in definite forms and garish colours, the subjects became transformed into unusual, abnormal motifs, rendered in monotonous colours, like the series of grotesque figures eating oranges (Orangenesser, 1981). Over the years Baselitz became indifferent first to the motif and then to technique, with the result that he no longer felt the need to invert the image and even took to wood carving.