Devotion is the first major exhibition of prints by German artists Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) to be presented in the UK in over 25 years. The exhibition, on display from 16 May to 22 June 2019, will feature 32 etchings based on self-portraits of artists that Baselitz admires or is influenced by, including Frank Auerbach, Cecily Brown, Tracey Emin, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, amongst others. This selection of both Baselitz's predecessors and his peers offer us an insight into the mind of the artist; each self-portrait has been carefully selected and reimagined in Baselitz's own unique style.
Devotion forms part of a wider project which includes paintings and drawings, all on the same subject, inspired by time Baselitz spent at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, preparing for an exhibition in 2018. Here he viewed a full-length portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire and his muse, painted by Henri Rousseau (The Poet and his Muse. Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire and Marie Laurencin, 1909). Baselitz observed that even a portrait made of another person, is always a self-portrait of the artist; "I have painted a lot of portraits of myself and my wife in recent years, many dressed as others - sometimes as my parents, sometimes as Lenin and Stalin, but mostly as Otto Dix's parents ... Last year I bought a lot of old Italian framed and painted portraits to go in them. In the end I didn't put the portraits into the old frames, but Rousseau's double portrait in Basel in its old painted frame still haunted me. My mind was a jumble of portraits, frames and Rousseau, our anti-realist painter."
Devotion is Georg Baselitz's first exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery, London. To coincide with the Bienniale di Venezia a major survey of Baselitz's work, curated by Kosme de Barañano, will open at the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice, from 8 May - 8 September 2019. This is the first exhibiting by a living artist in the museum.
Artwork image: detail from Georg Baselitz, Heckel I, 2018.