Lot 47
  • 47

Michael Krebber

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
106,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Michael Krebber
  • Untitled
  • signed and dated 99 on the overlap
  • acrylic on canvas


Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Michael Krebber is celebrated for deploying formalist withdrawal as a means to explore the very elemental make-up of painting itself. Untitled is a prime example of the elegant restraint typical of Krebber’s practice. Harbouring intensely laboured yet scant brushwork laid over bare primed canvas, this painting embodies the essence of Krebber’s post-conceptual challenge to the field of abstract painting; a highly academic and critically lauded investigation initiated by the artist during the late 1980s. Having grown up in Cologne, and studied under Markus Lüpertz at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, Krebber went on to become the studio assistant of Georg Baselitz and later Martin Kippenberger with whom he shared a close and binding friendship until the latter’s death in 1997. It was against this imposing pedigree of painterly influence that Krebber developed his own critical painterly dialogue. The confrontational anarchism of Kippenberger, who above all looked to a critique of painting to undermine artistic conventions, is subsumed and blanketed by the mutism of Krebber’s minimal gestures: his works mark out a territory for painting on the peripheries of non-being.

Herein, it is impossible to fully understand Krebber’s practice without considering the context out of which his work developed. Under the spell of institutional critique, the late 1980s witnessed the eschewal of traditional media in favour of transmitting political messages through site-specific collaborative projects. For Krebber, who was fervently tied to the painterly avant-garde, his decision to pursue the same rigorous self-critique that shaped the post-painterly approach of his contemporaries through painting was radical. His canvases, therefore, push painting to the very limits. The furtive, brisk lines and bare white ground that comprise Untitled suggest that the artist’s real energies are found in the self-consciousness that binds image and gesture to wider meanings and context. Sharp and astute, Untitled provides remarkable insight into the mind of one of the great post-war German painters.