Painter with mitten

Baselitz, Georg ((1938-)) | Artist
Gercken, Günther ((1938-))


In a dark setting, a man is standing, bent slightly forwards, holding a white glove. His forehead is prominently furrowed, his eyes deeply set – a face that looks as if it was carved from wood. Is this a blind person lost and wandering in the night? And why is he upside down?

This painting is by Georg Baselitz, an artist born in Saxony. In 1969, aged 31, he decided to invert the subjects in his paintings in future without exception – a decision which later made him famous. He had always gone his own way. In contrast to many other contemporary artists, Baselitz has never painted abstractly, but always worked within figurative and representational art. At the same time, his painting style is emphatically gestural and expressive, as is common in abstract painting. This combination results in deformed and distorted figures which, moreover, Baselitz paints upside down – an approach, he says, forcing him to look at his compositions more precisely and enabling him to investigate the essence of his subjects more intensely.

Incidentally, the bent man in this painting goes back to a self-portrait by the Norwegian artist Edward Munch, whose work Baselitz particularly admires. Yet while Munch expressed nightmare visions, presentiments of death, and crises in life, Baselitz turns his canvas into an arena where he struggles for his own being as an artist – a process we can see and understand through his aggressive brush stroke. According to curator Mathias Wagner, this is an expression ...

“…of Baselitz asserting himself as an artist and possibly equally in his own being. The act of painting expresses the artist’s energy, his will to live, as well as perhaps his own vulnerability.”


Material & Technique
Oil on Canvas
Galerie Neue Meister
Inventory number
Leih-Nr. L 431