When you make a print, similar to a drawing, you need lines and hatching to put together what you want to represent, a body, for example. The extreme anti-naturalism that comes to bear in this was what interested me. This can be in the excessiveness, the elongation, the gnarlification, the ornamental in the sheets, but it can also be in the sensuality, that is, the allure created through engraving, meaning that you leave behind that which is tied to the subject… – Georg Baselitz
Luhring Augustine is delighted to announce a second exhibition of prints by Georg Baselitz opening at our Chelsea location on September 6. This presentation, which follows the fall 2021 installation in our Tribeca location of Baselitz prints from the 1960s, will feature a comprehensive selection of woodcuts and etchings from the 1980s and 1990s, along with select prints from the 1970s.
This successive installation continues directly from the 1960s prints in the first exhibition, tracing Baselitz’s development as an artist in subsequent decades through the 1990s. It is notable that 1969 marked the year Baselitz made his first inverted works, a motif that would become a hallmark of his practice and solidify him among the greatest contemporary artists of the day. The upside-down compositions represent his signature method of divorcing figurative content from inherent meaning, a tension he wrestled with from early in his career. Baselitz’s prints take this a step further, using technical prowess to create formal imagery of such force as to minimize the subject matter almost completely. A master draftsman, he uses techniques such as chiaroscuro, dramatic cross-hatching, vigorous lines, and deliberate areas of color to generate a body of print work that stands apart. As noted in the catalog essay in the third volume of the Baselitz catalogue raisonné of prints, “printmaking…is the technique of inversion and reversal…”
The works on view reveal Baselitz’s use of serial tropes such as trees, eagles, bottles, and human figures to explore the boundaries between abstraction and figuration in printmaking. These experimentations are evident in his recurring use of gesture and perspective in his human subjects. For instance, a series of woodcuts from the 1980s feature expressive human faces and hands in varying positions, colors, and configurations. Similarly, a group of etchings from the 1990s showcase unnaturally elongated, almost skeletal human forms, unified in their aesthetic formulation with differing angles and positions. In the works from both decades, the repetition in motif is overshadowed by the distinct synthesis of form between each composition. Presented together, the exhibition is unique in its focus on printmaking, one of the most widely celebrated facets of Baselitz’s illustrious career.
About the Artist
Georg Baselitz was born in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, Germany, and is regarded as one of the preeminent artists of the post-war era. Among the numerous institutions that have held major solo exhibitions of his work are the Guggenheim, New York, NY; Städel-Museum, Frankfurt, Germany; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Switzerland; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; as well as notably, the first show by a living artist held at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy, and a recent retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France in October 2021. His work is in the permanent collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Tate, London, UK; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, among many others. A forthcoming exhibition of drawings by Georg Baselitz will open at the Morgan Library, New York, NY in October 2022.
 Georg Baselitz, Vier Wände, ed.Ulrich Weisner, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielfeld, 1985, p. 15.
 Georg Baselitz, Werkverzeichnis der Druckgraphik 1983–1989, ed. Rainer Michael Mason and Detlev Gretenkort, Snoeck Publishing Company, Cologne, 2019, p. 362.