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Georg Baselitz, Waldarbeiter (Woodsmen), 1967–68, charcoal and synthetic resin on canvas, 97 7⁄8 × 78 3⁄4".

Georg Baselitz

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Georg Baselitz, Waldarbeiter (Woodsmen), 1967–68, charcoal and synthetic resin on canvas, 97 7⁄8 × 78 3⁄4". © George Baselitz.

GEORG BASELITZ came to the attention of US audiences in the early 1980s as part of the cohort of German painters who seemed to appear from out of nowhere with an onslaught of exhibitions in New York’s most prestigious and cutting-edge galleries. Within the international (non) movement referred to as “neo-expressionism,” Baselitz was among the few who were actually reconsidering German Expressionist approaches to painting; he was also “the one who turns his paintings upside down.” His inversion of his subjects set him apart, but without context or a clear sense of his development it seemed like a gimmick. Since that time, Baselitz has regularly exhibited in New York—the Guggenheim mounted a large survey of his work in 1995—and has been widely collected. While he is hardly unknown, his agenda and its significance remain obscure; his concerns don’t fit neatly into the narratives of

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