Georg Baselitz

Georg Baselitz Arrivare con cenere, 2019 Oil on canvas 304 x 350 cm (119,69 x 137,8 in)
[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997
[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

Georg Baselitz counts Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston among his key influences, and is known for his uncompromising approach and critical stance. In 1969, he began to compose his images upside down to slow the processes of making, looking, and comprehending. This inversion would become a distinctive characteristic of his painting and artistic identity.

Baselitz explained this intriguing gesture as a way of testing the limits between figuration and abstraction. He found it very important not to create anecdotal or descriptive paintings, as some figurative paintings can be. On the other hand, he disliked the subjectivism of abstract art. The inversion of his paintings seemed to him to be the perfect compromise.

“Women don’t paint very well”. And according to him, there is a simple explanation: to be a painter of quality requires a certain amount of brutality, a quality specific to the male gender.

“I was born into a destroyed order, a destroyed landscape, a destroyed people, a destroyed society. And I didn’t want to reestablish an order: I had seen enough of so-called order. I was forced to question everything, to be ‘naive’, to start again.” 

—— Georg Baselitz


+ i love the idea of his process of working upside-down, a disorientated way to paint disorientated subjects, yet we see degeneration, sadness, illness and death, and discovering love, tenderness, admiration and beauty…

+ i would like to experiment with painting upside-down / function with my unusual hand / eyes closed / even holding my breath? to feel the strong sense of “existence” and presence…

Marlene Dumas

I love the gestural brushstrokes and the thin washes of paint / watercolour / ink to create this distinctive appearance. She is exploring the complexities of identity, raising awareness on social & political issue by collecting from her personal collection and the print media. Looking at her background of being born in South Africa, she is confronting themes like racial and ethnic identity.

The majority of her works may be categorised as ‘portraits”, but they are not portraits in the traditional sense. Rather than representing an actual person, they represent an emotion or a state of mind.

Race and sexuality, guilt and innocence, violence and tenderness.

Marlene Dumas, Naomi, 1995
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Swedish artist Anna Bjerger commented “A good figurative painting does something to you, surprises you, takes you somewhere different, is convincing and generous. A good painting often leaves you speechless,” she said. Like her peers, Bjerger also ties a figurative painting’s merit to the response it elicits in an individual. She admires the paintings of Marlene Dumas, whose work “feels naked yet lush”; the South African painter “manages to transcend meaning in a way that never feels blunt,” Bjerger said.


+ who are the subject matters that i’m depicting? what similarities do they share? + what culture / social aspect that i am interested in?

+ how do i create a signature voice that elicit a reaction in the viewer?