Baselitz - Richter - Polke - Kiefer

The young years of the Old Masters.
12 April – 11 August 2019

Baselitz, Richter, Polke and Kiefer. Four names from Germany that are known all over the world. The focus of the exhibition was on the 1960s. Around 100 works illustrated how the artists in their early works dealt with a time that was characterized by challenges and upheavals, utopias and reorientations, power and protest.

After the Second World War, the western part of the destroyed and soon divided Germany not only experienced a rapid economic miracle, but also
finally begins to come to terms with its own history. Restorative politics are increasingly questioned, especially by the youth. "Under the gowns the mustiness of a thousand years" becomes one of the core slogans of the student movement. Baselitz, Richter, Polke, and Kiefer also embrace the spirit of the times in their early work. Although they all call themselves apolitical, their art continues to shape the positive image of a new, critical Germany, especially abroad. In the 1960s, their figurative paintings challenged the predominance of abstraction at the time.

Baselitz paints torn, divided heroes. Polke and Richter demonstrate the absurdity and emptiness of alluring consumption. Anselm Kiefer, on the other hand, exposes the roots of the so-called "Third Reich" in German history. To be able to show the works of these four masters together for the first time in one exhibition and thus make this important stage of German history visible was a stroke of luck.

Guest curator Götz Adriani was to thank for this project. The renowned art historian is not only a companion of this generation, but also on friendly terms with the protagonists of the exhibition. The exhibition catalog was created from conversations with the three still-living artists and a very personal text on Sigmar Polke.