Georg Baselitz, “Untitled” (1984), graphite and watercolor on paper, The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of the Baselitz Family; 2022.107 (© 2022 Georg Baselitz)

One of the most celebrated contemporary German artists, Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) gained international recognition in the 1960s for revitalizing figurative painting with his forceful, expressive style. He recently donated 50 drawings to the Morgan Library & Museum and with this acquisition, the Morgan will house one of the most extensive collections of his works in the United States.

Through constant self-reinvention, Baselitz has aimed to show that painting, especially figurative painting, can remain relevant and meaningful in an art world transformed by new media. He is also a prolific draftsman, and drawing has always played a central role in his practice. His strong attachment to the art historical tradition — from 16th-century Mannerism to German Expressionism — are fitting for the Morgan, where his work can be seen and studied in the context of the earlier movements that inspired him.

Organized in collaboration with the Albertina Museum in Vienna, which is the recipient of a similar gift from the artist, Georg Baselitz: Six Decades of Drawings spans the entirety of Baselitz’s career from the early 1960s up to 2018 with drawings from the artist’s most celebrated series, including P.D. Feet, Heroes, New Types, Eagles, and ’45, as well as many examples from the Remix series. The acquisition also includes several landscapes from the early 1970s drawn on pages from old books, which are among Baselitz’s earliest upside-down images. In addition, there is a group of late-career portraits of artists who he admires, such as Arnold Schönberg and Robert Rauschenberg. A variety of techniques are represented in this body of work, including graphite, ink, charcoal, pastel, and watercolor — demonstrating the versatility of Baselitz’s drawing practice.

This exhibition is made possible by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.

Georg Baselitz: Six Decades of Drawings is on view through February 5, 2023, at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

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