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Exhibition of recent drawings by German painter Georg Baselitz on view at Gagosian Geneva
GEORG BASELITZ: Visit from Hokusai January 21-March 18, 2016. GAGOSIAN GALLERY 19 PLACE DE LONGMALLE 1204 GENEVA. Georg Baselitz. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

GENEVA.- Gagosian Geneva is presenting recent drawings by Georg Baselitz.

Drawing has always been central to Baselitz's art. Parallel to his cerebral yet impassioned paintings and roughly hewn sculptures, the practice of drawing is a test-site for assimilation and disorientation in his oeuvre. In a new series of two-part ink drawings, Baselitz is "visited" by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), whose exquisitely controlled color-woodblock prints epitomized the refined ukiyo-e genre in Japanese art and persist in the popular imagination today.

In each diptych, Baselitz pairs reconsidered motifs from his own work with iterations—in ink with blue, yellow or green watercolor washes—of an intimate late work by Hokusai, a wry self-portrait sketched at the end of a letter to his print publisher in 1842. The letter accompanied a group of prints made forty years earlier, which the Japanese master described to his publisher as repetitive, unresolved, and immature. He signed it with his pseudonym of the day: "Sincerely yours, the eighty-three year old Hachiemon."

The message of Hokusai's letter is that perfection comes with age and hindsight. Paired with his confidently drawn self-portrait as a mischievous old man, this poignant gesture from the elderly artist evidently provides inspiration across time and culture for Baselitz's own pursuit of newness and transformation while continuing to reflect on his own life and mortality.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with an essay by John-Paul Stonard.

Georg Baselitz was born in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, and lives and works between Ammersee, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Imperia, Italy. His work is included in public and private collections worldwide. Solo museum exhibitions include "Georg Baselitz," Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995, traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin); "Georg Baselitz: Aquarelles Monumentales," Albertina, Vienna (2003); "Georg Baselitz: A Retrospective," Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007, traveled to MADRE, Naples); "Baselitz auf Papier," Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); "Georg Baselitz: Folk Thing Zero," Galleria Borghese, Rome (2011); "Georg Baselitz: Pinturas Recentes," Pinacoteca, So Paulo (2010–11); "Baselitz as Sculptor," Muse d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011–12); "Georg Baselitz: Works from 1968 to 2012," Essl Museum, Vienna (2013); "Georg Baselitz: BDM Gruppe," Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2013); "Georg Baselitz: Remix," Albertina, Vienna (2013–14); and "Georg Baselitz-Back then, in between, and today," Haus der Kunst, Munich (2015). In 2014 the British Museum, London presented "Germany Divided: Baselitz and his Generation," an exhibition of drawings and prints by Baselitz, Markus Lpertz, Blinky Palermo, A. R. Penck, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter.

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