He Wasn’t Bluffing: Georg Baselitz Takes Back His Works From German Museums

German painter Georg Baselitz poses in front of his painting 'Ein moderner Maler' (Remix) at the Berlinische Galerie on March 25, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.
German painter Georg Baselitz poses in front of his painting 'Ein moderner Maler' (Remix) at the Berlinische Galerie on March 25, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.
 Museum employees walk past works of German artist Georg Baselitz at the Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery) at the Albertinum museum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo credit ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images.


Museum employees walk past works of German artist Georg Baselitz at the Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery) at the Albertinum museum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo credit ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images.

Last week, Georg Baselitz announced in typically outspoken style that he intends to withdraw all of his loaned artworks from German museums in protest of the government’s controversial draft for a culture heritage legislation amendment.

Any hopes that the art superstar may have been bluffing were dashed when a photograph of the Baselitz gallery at Dresden’s Albertinum Museum emerged on Friday showing empty walls, according to Art Magazin.

Today, news followed that the Kunstsammlung Chemnitz have also been forced to take down their Baselitz works on loan.

Museum directors were hoping that the changes to the cultural protection laws, announced by German culture minster Monika Grütters last Thursday, would be enough to make the artist reconsider his stance.

The removal of the nine paintings and one sculpture from the museum’s display means that, after only five years, the Albertinum loses one of its primary attractions.

Albertinum Museum director Hartwig Fischer confirmed the withdrawal to the New York Times. “This is his gesture to comment on what is happening with the legislation. We will talk about possibilities in the near future, but for now the decision is definite and the works are leaving,” he said. “I’m very sad about this.”

Georg Baselitz has withdrawn his works from German museums in light of the planned tightening of the cultural protection law. Photo: Arno Burgi via AFP/Getty Images

Georg Baselitz has withdrawn his works from German museums in light of the planned cultural heritage protection law.
Photo: Arno Burgi via AFP/Getty Images

The director of the Kunstsammlung Chemnitz, Ingrid Mössinger told Art Magazin “it’s sad, because those were quite important works. A small Baselitz retrospective has disappeared.”

In Dresden, the Baselitz paintings were swiftly replaced by a single artwork by Thomas Bayrle: a cardboard, and wood collage depicting the Euro symbol.

Meanwhile in Chemnitz, museum officials intend to keep the dedicated Baselitz room intact, replacing the loaned works with drawings by the artist from the museum’s holdings.

The withdrawals means that the remaining institution that holds long-term loans from the artist—the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich—is also highly likely to lose its works too.


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