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"Georg Baselitz: Background Stories" opens at the Galerie Neue Meister in Dresden
German artist Georg Baselitz poses in front of the painting "Sistine Madonna" (1512/13) by Italian artist Raphael during a preview of the exhibition "Georg Baselitz - Background Stories" on September 20, 2013 at the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace) museum in Dresden, eastern Germany. At the invitation of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the painter, sculptor and printmaker Georg Baselitz has created a very personal exhibition to mark his 75th birthday. AFP PHOTO / DPA / ARNO BURGI.

DRESDEN.- At the invitation of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), the painter, sculptor and graphic artist Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) has developed a very personal exhibition for Dresden to mark his 75th birthday. Influenced by his first visits to the Dresden collections as a young boy in the 1950s, the works reveal a visual memory that still inspires the artist's creative process.

In the as yet unrestored State Apartments in the Royal Palace, Georg Baselitz creates unconventional juxtapositions, casually placing his own paintings from the last 15 years opposite reproductions of central pieces from the SKD's Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kupferstich-Kabinett and Galerie Neue Meister. To do so, he had the paintings reproduced as screen prints in the same format as his own paintings, for purposes of comparison.

Altogether, the exhibition contains twelve pairs of pictures: Raphael's Sistine Madonna is paired with its disruptive counterpart Statement (1999), the portrait of Queen Maria Josepha by Anton Raphael Mengs is set against a portrait of Baselitz's wife Elke (2007), and Monet's Jar of Peaches becomes Baselitz's Volkstanz (2009). In 1969 Baselitz based his piece Der Wald auf dem Kopfon Rayski's landscape Wermsdorfer Wald. This was the first work in which he turned the subject on its head. In this exhibition, however, Rayski's study flanks a more recent painting by the artist, Von Wermsdorf nach Ekely (Remix), from 2006, testimony to the artist's ongoing exploration of Dresden’s great artists.

By constantly putting references to their works in his paintings, Baselitz firmly places himself in the time-honoured line of artists from his Saxon home town, such as Caspar David Friedrich, Ferdinand von Rayski or Curt Querner.

As a result, the dialogues between the works speak of all kinds of different relationships, in terms of both formal aesthetics and theme. Born and raised in Deutschbaselitz, near Kamenz, Georg Baselitz uses this radical method to tell his personal “background stories” linking him to these Dresden works.

“These pictures more or less laid the foundations for my whole life, my ‘picture life’. And everything I saw later in other museums, whether it was the Louvre or the Uffizi or the Prado,I saw in comparison to those Dresden pictures, which had left a deep impression on me. “--Georg Baselitz talking to Hartwig Fischer, June 2013

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September 21, 2013

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