Curated by: Kosme de Barañano
With a major retrospective opening on 8 May 2019, Georg Baselitz will be the first living artist to exhibit at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. Baselitz – Academy examines the artist’s work in relation to the Italian art historical tradition and the legacy of the academy.
As a young artist, Baselitz left Germany for Italy after winning a six-month residency at the Villa Romana in Florence. During this pivotal time, he turned his gaze intensely to the art of the Italian Renaissance, including that of Giovanni di Paolo, Rosso Fiorentino, and Jacopo da Pontormo.
Acutely aware of the arc of art history, Baselitz has returned over and again to the artists of the past. This exhibition highlights this interest while turning attention to his remarkable influence on contemporary painting, including his iconic inversions, which deconstruct the traditions of portraiture.
Seven rooms are dedicated to Baselitz’s paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures. The show is divided into sections focusing on themes such as drawings inspired by Pontormo, the “upside-down” portraits, and the impressive large nudes. In a radical and revelatory presentation, the room of nudes exhibits exceptional works that have never before been seen together.
Georg Baselitz comments: “I am delighted to have been invited to present my work at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. I have known the city and museum well for many years and it is a pleasure to work with Kosme de Barañano to present a show that we hope will offer something different.”
Kosme de Barañano, curator of the exhibition, comments: “Georg Baselitz is one of the most significant artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He confronts the great theme of painting not by reducing it to its essence but rather by attacking the convention itself. We are thrilled to work together again. Baselitz has often visited Italy and has kept a studio in the country for quite some time, and the exhibition will reflect how Italy has impacted his work over the years.”
Paola Marini, former Director of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, comments: “After the success of the Philip Guston exhibition in 2017, we are pleased to continue the journey by presenting the work of a contemporary master, Georg Baselitz, whose work has been profoundly influenced by the encounter with the history of Italian art present at the Gallerie dell’Accademia.”
Giovanni Panebianco, General Secretary of MiBAC and Director of Gallerie dell’Accademia, comments: “This exhibition significantly testifies to the Gallerie dell’Accademia’s commitment to carry on a project of dialogue with the contemporary art milieu, a path started some years ago. The exhibition indeed is a tribute to Georg Baselitz, one of the most innovative and influential artists of the last fifty years. Baselitz is intimately connected with the city of Venice, where he more than once presented his artworks during the Biennale Arte, starting from the 1980 edition when he participated with his first challenging, deeply original sculpture.
Baselitz – Academy, promoted by Gallerie dell’Accademia and supported by Gagosian, is a Collateral Event of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.