Farmers in Georg Baselitz’s Birthplace Defile Work Honoring the Painter

The rural landscape he had painted is blocked by a smelly pile.

The artist was speaking ahead of his exhibition at London's White Cube gallery. Photo: ARNO BURGI/AFP/Getty Images

In 1953, a young German artist named Georg Kern gained his first major recognition with a painting of a rural landscape created around his village, and depicting trees and a sand pond typical to the region. Underlining his connection to the place, the painter later changed his name to Georg Baselitz, after his hometown, Deutschbaselitz, in Saxony. The locality, however, was merged with a neighboring town in 1999, and is now called Kamenz.

Today, Baselitz—who now lives in Salzburg—is one of Germany’s most expensive artists at auction, but that didn’t stop local farmers in Kamenz from obfuscating a work that marks the exact place where the 1953 painting had been created—by dumping manure in front of it.

Related: The Women Artists Who Outrank Georg Baselitz at Auction Despite His Sexist Comments

The popular German daily Bild reports that the town is now torn by fighting over a 23-meter long, and three-meter high pile of cow dung that was placed in front of a free-standing, over-sized frame that hangs in the landscape to indicate the spot seen in Baselitz’s painting.

The frame is one stop along a five-kilometer path that was created in 2011 and leads through Deutschbaselitz, marking different stations in the artist’s early live and career.

I am appalled at how the path created in honor of my brother has been defiled. He does not deserve such a stinking pile of crap,” Baselitz’s 74-year-old brother, Günter Kern, told Bild.

The 61-year-old farmer Bernd Preuss, head of the agricultural cooperative responsible for the pile, is hardly concerned, however.

“We have thought nothing of it,” he told the paper. “For me this is bad art anyway. Our biogas plant is being renovated so the pile will remain here until the middle of August.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics