Germany divided - Baselitz and his generation

6 Feb 2014 – 30 Aug 2014

Regular hours

10:00 – 20:30
10:00 – 20:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30

Cost of entry


British Museum

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Holborn (500m), Tottenham Court Road (300m), Russell Square (800m), Goodge Street (800m)

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Germany divided - Baselitz and his generation


Featuring over 90 extraordinary drawings and prints, this exhibition explores how six key post-war artists redefined art in Germany on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

All the artists in this exhibition came originally from eastern Germany and migrated to the West, the majority before the borders were sealed in 1961. Some had trained in East Germany, but it was in the West that their careers were established. As a generation, they came out of the experience of growing up in the aftermath of a Germany defeated in the Second World War, and its subsequent partition in 1949.

Much of their work is informed by the sense of collective guilt experienced by the German people over its recent past, the country?s physical and psychological destruction, and the division of the country by two opposing ideologies ? the democracies of the free West and the Communist system of the Soviet bloc.

These remarkable works on paper, on public display for the first time, are on loan from the private collection of Count Christian Duerckheim. Half of them are by Georg Baselitz, with the remainder by Markus Lüpertz, Blinky Palermo, A R Penck, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. 34 of the works in the exhibition, including 17 by Baselitz, have been generously donated to the British Museum by Count Duerckheim.

The gift includes a group of 11 drawings by Baselitz from 1960 to the late 1970s, together with prints from the same period. They cover the principal phases of his career from the Pandemonium drawings of the early 1960s, the development of his ironic ?Heroes? in the mid-1960s, and the subsequent fracturing of his motifs to the eventual inversion of the motif from the late 1960s.

Other works on display include Richter?s Pin-up and Installation drawings, the characteristic Ice Age-meets-cybernetics stick-figures of Penck, as well as sculptural drawings by Lüpertz and Palermo, and a drawing and sketchbook by Polke satirising the ?economic miracle? of post-war reconstruction in West Germany.

The donation completely transforms the Museum?s holdings of German post-war graphic art and enables the Museum to trace the history of drawings and printmaking in Germany from the time of Dürer to the present.

Ein neuer Type('A New Type'), 1965, Georg Baselitz (b.1938), grey and yellow ochre watercolour, charcoal, graphite and white pastel on paper. Presented to the British Museum by Count Christian Duerckheim.

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