Lot 6
  • 6

GEORG BASELITZ | Ohne Titel (Held) (Untitled (Hero))

450,000 - 650,000 GBP
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  • Georg Baselitz
  • Ohne Titel (Held) (Untitled (Hero))
  • signed
  • charcoal and pencil on paper 
  • 49.5 by 37.5 cm. 19 1/2 by 14 7/8 in.
  • Executed in 1965.


Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne
Galerie Neuendorf, Hamburg
Michael Werner Gallery, New York
Ronald S. Lauder Collection (acquired from the above in 1986)
Acquired from the above by the present owner 


Hamburg, Galerie Neuendorf, Georg Baselitz – Zeichnungen 1961-1983, September - October 1983, p. 33, no. 11, illustrated in colour
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Berlin Art 1961 – 1987, June - September 1987, p. 118, no. 19, illustrated
New York, Neue Galerie, The Ronald S. Lauder Collection: Selections From the 3rd Century BC to the 20th Century: Germany, Austria, and France, October 2011 - April 2012, p. 470, no. 304, illustrated in colour 


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the paper tonality is slightly darker in the original. Condition: This work is in very good condition. The sheet is hinged verso to the backing board at the top corners. Close inspection reveals minor handling creases throughout the sheet and a few minute nicks in isolated places to the extreme outer edges. Extremely close inspection reveals two short and unobtrusive repaired tears to the center of the lower edge.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1965 and housed for over three decades in the Ronald S. Lauder Collection, Ohne Titel (Held) is a superb articulation of Georg Baselitz’s revered series of Heroes. Composed between 1964 and 1966 in a period of intense creativity, the Helden comprise an epic collection of symbolic paintings and works on paper which cemented Baselitz’s early critical standing, denoting him as one of the most compelling and provocative voices of the post-war era. In the present composition, one of Baselitz’s ironic heroes stumbles bare-foot across a barren landscape, a flag trailing beside him in either hand. Rendered in pencil and charcoal, this intimately scaled work on paper encapsulates the visceral immediacy of Baselitz’s draftsmanship, and provides a powerful shorthand for the series at large. As a subversive emblem of a defeated nation, the flag recurs as a motif in many of the most important works of the series, including Ein Neuer Typ (1966) and Mit Roter Fahne (1965). Testament to the importance of the Helden within Baselitz’s oeuvre, examples from the series reside among the most prestigious museum collections worldwide. Indeed, more than fifty years after its creation, this seminal series was honoured by a major institutional exhibition that travelled from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, and finally to the Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao, between June 2016 and November 2017. Born in 1938 and aged seven at the end of the Second World War, Baselitz famously stated of his inherited past: “I was born into a destroyed order” (Georg Baselitz in conversation with Donald Kuspit, ‘Goth to Dance’, ArtForum, Vol. 33, Summer 1995, p. 76). Defeated and devastated by the Second World War, the German nation was immersed in further anguish when it was divided into East and West. Baselitz’s Helden are archetypal of the vanquished and depleted survivors of devastated post-war Germany. Previous critics have conjectured narrative into the isolated figures as ironic victors returning home from the catastrophes and horrors of conflict, yet still afflicted by the nightmares that beset them. It is certainly true that these solitary wandererswith their tattered uniforms that expose clumsy wounded bodies, appear mutilated by war. Such heightened awareness of the recent past and astute perception of the immediate repercussions of the war led Norman Rosenthal to describe the artist’s desire “to confront the realities of history and art history, to make them new and fresh in a manner that can only be described as heroic” (Norman Rosenthal, ‘Why the Painter Georg Baselitz is a Good Painter’ in: Exh. Cat., London, Royal Academy of Arts, Georg Baselitz, 2007, p. 15). Both invoking references to a catastrophic past and marking unrepentant observations on a contemporary epoch in disarray, Ohne Titel (Held) offers a poignant manifestation of this acute insight.