Georg Baselitz on originality

In his 60-year career, Georg Baselitz has produced a plethora of work, from the monumental figures depicted in his Hero paintings, to the upside-down compositions that came to be a trademark of his work from 1969

The artist is a relentless innovator, and the scope of his creative imagination and technical variety is remarkable. Being original, he insists, has been key to creating art that remains exciting: “It’s not like figure skating, playing music or running 100 metres,” the artist muses. “You can’t better it…but you can do something different”.

In the 1980s, Baselitz turned to another new material, carving large, roughly-hewn figures and heads in wood. The decision resulted in a series that, today, the artist views as one of his most important: “The Women of Dresden are definitely a highlight of my work in sculpture,” Baselitz says, referring to a group of eleven monumental heads, painted vibrant cadmium yellow.

Die Wendin [The Women of Dresden] is one of Baselitz’s most significant works,” agrees Mary Rozell, Global Head of the UBS Art Collection. “An homage to Dresden and the ‘rubble women’ who helped courageously rebuild the city after the war, this striking sculpture is one of a set that have been hugely influential in contemporary art.”

The UBS Art Collection is honored to have loaned a sculpture from this historic series to the Fondation Beyeler, which presented an exhibition honoring Baselitz’s six-decade career. Organized in close collaboration with the artist, the show highlighted the originality that has cemented Baselitz’s status as one of the foremost artists of our time.

Georg Baselitz is a German sculptor, painter and graphic artist. Based in Salzburg, Austria, he grew up in Deutschbaselitz, in what would later become East Germany, later changing his surname as a tribute to his hometown. He is the recipient of prizes including the Praemium Imperiale, awarded in 2004, and has exhibited in major fairs and institutions across the world.

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