Baselitz, born as Hans-Gerog Kern, borrowed his artist's name from his home town. After being expelled from the East-Berlin "Kunsthochschule" due to "sociopolitical immaturity", he switched to the "Hochschule der Bildenden Künste" in Berlin-Weißensee in 1957. Between 1957 and 1962 Baselitz continued his training at the "Hochschule der Bildenden Künste" in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Hann Trier became one of his teachers.
In the early 60ies he published several artistic manifestos and he established a new figurative art with expressive elements - together with artists like Eugen Schönebeck or Markus Lüpertz - at the same time. Baselitz wanted to offend against fixed categories and regularities, his unpretentious painting was directed against the established ideal.
In 1963 the paintings "Die große Nacht im Eimer" [The large night in the bucket] and "Der nackte Mann" [The nacked man], which caused a scandal, were confiscated at the gallery Werner & Katz in Berlin by the public prosecutor's office. The following actions for pornography were closed and the works were returned.
In 1969, he created the first one of his typical pictures, which presents the motif head downwards. Besides painting, drawing, printing and wood sculpturing gained more and more importance. At the beginning of the 1970s the artist was well-known in Germany through numerous exhibitions. In 1977, Georg Baselitz was appointed to the "Akademie der Bildenden Künste" in Karlsruhe.
From 1983 to 1988, he continued his professorship at the "Hochschule der Bildenden Künste" in Berlin. In 1980, he designed the German pavilion for the Venice Biennale, exhibited at the "documenta VII" and had countless exhibitions and retrospectives in major international art forums, e.g. at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1995.
In 2004 Baselitz received the "Nobel prize for arts", the "Praemium Imperiale" of the Japan Association. The committee justified the award of the world's highest prize for contemporary art by pointing out that for decades, Georg Baselitz has formed the international art scene with his powerful painting.
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