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Germany Divided

Baselitz and his generation

John-Paul Stondard

192 pages, 130 color, 9780714126906, $50.00, Hardback, British Museum Press
Published: 2/1/2014

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Published to accompany a significant exhibition at the British Museum, Germany Divided: Baselitz and his generation showcases a selection of key works from six artists who re-defined art in Germany in the second half of the twentieth century; Georg Baselitz, Marcus Lüpertz, Blinky Palermo, A.R. Penck, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. The majority of the works are published here for the first time.

In-depth biographical essays on each artist show how the division of Germany into separate states affected their work; and the importance of the experience of migration from East to West. The new consumer culture in the West contrasted starkly with the planned economy of the East. Artists on both side of the wall were faced with the difficult emotional task of negotiating with the past; not only the recent history of the Third Reich, but the ‘lost’ traditions of German painting, particularly Expressionism, from which they had been cut adrift.

Germany Divided explores the work of these artists in the broader historical context of Germany and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and shows how these debates placed crucial emphasis on the creation and display of art. Graphic traditions, reaching back through Expressionism to older traditions of print-making in Germany, were an essential part of the reconstruction of artistic life, and a basis for the phenomenal success of German art on an international stage in the decades to follow.

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