Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1983
In moving from East Germany to West Berlin in 1957 and becoming an official resident there in 1958, Baselitz reacted against the constraints of the two contrasting artistic and political landscapes that he had traversed. Shifting from the dogma of Socialist Realism to the aesthetic hegemony of fashionable Tachism and Abstract Expressionism that dominated Western Europe at the time, Baselitz founded an entirely new visual mode of expression in order to liberate German painting from what he saw as the burden of its recent past: “When I make my paintings,” Baselitz declared, “I begin to do things as if I were the first, the only one, as if none of these examples existed” (Georg Baselitz cited in: Exh. Cat., Bordeaux, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Baselitz Sculptures, 1983, p. 18). The mid-1960s signalled the true attainment of this new ground. Coinciding with the creation of his Helden (Hero) series from 1965-66, Baselitz moved his family to the remote German countryside in search of isolation: “I started to cut myself off from the others, completely shutting myself away, didn’t join in art circles and tried to develop pictures that would, yes, provoke” (Georg Baselitz cited in: Exh. Cat., London, Royal Academy of Arts, Baselitz, 2007, p. 11). Maintaining a distance from academic art as well as a burgeoning German avant-garde led by Joseph Beuys, here Baselitz created new archetypes based on the traditional folkloric imagery of woodlands, animals and huntsmen.
The symbolic appearance of the dog, which had already featured in the Helden (Hero) paintings, drew inspiration from German Romanticism, such as Ludwig Richter’s Lake in the Riesengebirge of 1839 in the Nationalgalerie, Berlin that shows the artist walking across a wild landscape accompanied by a boy and a dog. As Andreas Franzke expands: “It is these dogs that set the precedent of climbing up the pictorial surface, emancipated from the laws of gravity, in a way that heralds the transition to Baselitz’s later practice of inverting his motifs” (Andreas Franzke, Georg Baselitz, Munich 1989, p. 92). As an early example of Baselitz’s iconic Frakturbilder, the two dogs that comprise the composition are severed by two diagonal lines running across the canvas, disavowing any claims to naturalism and calling into question the relative coherence of the two viewpoints. Mocking the illusionism of three point perspective – a cornerstone of classical painting – Baselitz’s contemptuous disruption of the image plane overrides the perspectival challenges laid out in modernist movements such as Cubism with an irreverent appeal to the absurd. As such, Baselitz claims an ultimate abandon of precedent. This is equally reflected in the unparalleled peculiarity of his brushwork which circulates around in exquisite dissonance. As noted by Richard Schiff, “Baselitz never allowed his marks to become calligraphy, that is, to become beautiful in themselves. Each attains its own ugliness by becoming a bit too big […]. Oversized, coarsened, each pulls apart from its neighbor even when it is part of a decorative pattern, resulting in pockets of local disharmony” (Richard Schiff, ‘Feet too Big’, in: Exh. Cat., London, Royal Academy of Arts, Baselitz, 2007, p. 27). Ein Grosser Hund finds Baselitz's brushwork at its most confident, ordered and supple. Masterfully layering and blending tones with an unusual sense of delicacy and care, Baselitz imbues his forms with volume and depth. Evidencing his sheer mastery of this idiosyncratic painterly style, the present work’s pervasive sense of cohesive logic creates a vision that explores a profoundly strange beauty in the heart of aesthetic turmoil.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale