George Baselitz

Toledo Museum of Art

Georg Baselitz is a particularly telling artist when he works on a small scale. In the small works of this exhibition, his gesture is tightened by the format, creating a smoldering, implosive effect that one does not always get from his heavily gestural paintings. Even his figures seem forced into too small a space. At his best, Baselitz uses paint with linear complexity—draws with paint, as it were. The gestural spillover is the result of the ambivalence of his handling, which is at once assertive and hesitant—peculiarly inhibited for all its forcefulness, as the brusqueness and choppiness of many of the early works, and of the recent wooden sculptures, suggests. The same point is made by his early heroic figures, which seem introverted rather than self-dramatizing.

This sense of compacting too much figure into too little space—of the figure being “enlarged” through the use of abrupt

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