Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

555 West 24th St, NY 10011, New York, United States
Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm


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Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed

Gagosian West 24th St, New York

Thu 9 Nov 2023 to Fri 22 Dec 2023

555 West 24th St, NY 10011 Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed

Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

Artist: Georg Baselitz

Gagosian presents The Painter in His Bed, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Georg Baselitz in New York.


Installation Views

Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian Installation image for Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed, at Gagosian

Over the past six decades, Baselitz has pursued a form of figuration that is direct, provocative, and informed by the history of art. A pioneer of Neo-Expressionism, he began in 1969 to invert his images as a means to focus on the painting process and to slow down the viewer’s perception and comprehension of his works. Often incorporating references to his own previous paintings, Baselitz harnesses uninhibited gestures to create emotionally charged compositions that remain centered on the human form.

The compelling works featured in The Painter in His Bed focus on two motifs: figures in bed and the stag. Defining human and animal anatomy with raw expression, Baselitz negotiates apperception of these subjects through his distinctive painterly approach. Vigorously applying layers of paint, he affixes stretched nylon stockings and sheets of gauze across the upper parts of the paintings or makes monoprinted impressions of their shapes. With these additions, Baselitz extends the innovation of Springtime, his 2021 exhibition in the same space in New York. Dedicated to the spirited provocations of Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, and other Dadaists, the works in Springtime draw upon these artists’ irreverent introduction of everyday materials into the realm of art. Whereas many of the Springtime paintings are exuberantly colored, the new works are dominated by elemental contrasts of black and white.

Channeling masculinity, the hunt, the wild, and northern Europe, Baselitz’s new imagery of the stag resonates with the prehistoric paintings of Lascaux, traditional reverse-glass painting of Saxony, kitsch woodland scenes, and the symbolic use of the animal by artists old and new. Likewise, the bed is a site with alternately erotic and restful associations that ultimately becomes the death bed; Baselitz’s stretched skeins of cloth evoke both blankets and funeral shrouds. In their consideration of these themes, these paintings echo the existential figuration of Philip Guston’s Painter in Bed (1973). With inverted gestures, Baselitz at once embraces and undermines these narratives.

The exhibition in New York shares its title with a panoramic 2022 canvas depicting four inverted stags in white on a black ground, their graphic intensity and the density of brushstrokes increasing from left to right. With energetic linear marks materializing the head and antlers of an inverted deer below and the textured layers of diaphanous fabric above, Hirschrobert (2022) offers a tribute to Robert Rauschenberg, whose iconic Bed (1954) is a wall-mounted combine of a quilt and pillow with applied pencil and splashed paint. Three more large-scale paintings feature the visceral forms of reclining figures positioned horizontally with adhered lengths of white or black fabric representing bedsheets, while Rechts oben ein Kilo zuviel and Miss Francis cha, cha, cha (both 2022) both pair four prone figures, their stocking-clad legs nearly touching. The title of the latter work alludes to Dadaist Francis Picabia with its play on words and gender.

An illustrated catalogue with essays by Brooks Adams, Catherine Lampert, and Andreas Zimmermann will accompany the exhibition.

Georg Baselitz: Sculptures 2011–2015 is on view at the Serpentine Galleries, London, from October 5, 2023, through January 7, 2024.

Installation view, Georg Baselitz: The Painter in His Bed at Gagosian West 24th St, New York, November 9 - December 22, 2023. Artwork © Georg Baselitz 2023. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Rob McKeever

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