Georg Baselitz designed flags, posters, and paintings of inverted hands and various animals in primary colors for a pavilion in which visitors’ shadows magically linger on the walls for twenty seconds before gradually vanishing.
The painting Die große Nacht im Eimer (“The Big Night Down the Drain”) (1962-63) was seized from his infamous first solo exhibition (at Galerie Werner & Katz, Berlin) for charges of public indecency
He is associated with Neo-Expressionism, a movement that emphasized emotion over naturalism
He created his first inverted paintings in 1969
German artist Georg Baselitz is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Growing up in the aftermath of World War II in East Germany influenced Baselitz’s interest in the concept of destruction, something he has grappled with repeatedly in his work. In the 1960s, he became known for expressive paintings of distorted figures that combined abstract gestures with cartoon-like naivety to convey raw emotion—partly inspired by an interest in art by mentally unwell people and the writings of avant-garde French writer Antonin Artaud.
In 1963, at his first solo exhibition at Galerie Werner & Katz in Berlin, Baselitz sparked controversy when authorities confiscated his painting Die große Nacht im Eimer (“The Big Night Down the Drain”) (1962-63) which depicts a figure that is often described as a masturbating dwarf, and temporarily closed the exhibition on charges of public indecency. In 1969, he began painting his subjects upside-down in order to resist narrative and draw attention to the artifice of painting, emphasizing that what we see is not actually the true subject. This inversion has since become the defining feature of his work.