Markus Luepertz images
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Markus Luepertz

See also: Contemporary/Postmodern Art


Painter and sculptor Markus Lupertz attended the School of Applied Arts in Krefeld and the State Art Academy in Duesseldorf from 1956 to 1961. In 1976 he became professor at the State Academy of Visual Arts in Karlsruhe, and in 1986 was named director of the Duesseldorf Academy.

After moving to Berlin in 1963, Lupertz developed a style he termed "dithyrambic painting," an expressive, figurative approach that stood in stark contrast to the abstract tendencies of the day. In 1970 his compositions began to take on the character of still lifes, being based on objects such as soldiers' helmets, snail shells, coats, and painter's palettes. These motifs called up manifold associations from the history of art and ideas, as well as containing direct political references.

Lüpertz's employment of motifs like Wehrmacht helmets and officer's caps in the canvases Of 1970 1974 caused a furore. One such work was Helmets Sinking (Dithyrombic 1). It stood at the beginning of the artist's involvement with German motifs, which culminated and came to a close in 1974 with the painting Black Red Gold (Dithyrombic). With these pictures, as Siegfried Gohr noted, Lüpertz "entered the path towards a redefinition of his painting, by facing up to the greatest emotional barrier, the taboo of silence imposed on the Nazi period, and breaking through it with his German motifs."

Since the early 1980s Lüpertz has supplemented his painting by work in sculpture. Following bronzes inspired by the Cubists' rendering of Black African sculpture, Hand, Head, Foot and Nymph (1981), Standbein Spielbein (Supporting Leg Relaxed Leg, 1982), and six works related to Alice in Wonderland (1983), the third group of Lüpertz's sculptures comprised six heads entitled The Burghers of Florence. These fantastic and grotesque portrayals, ranging from historical figures (the Medici) to present day tourists, are grouped into a configuration purposely reminiscent of Auguste Rodin's Burghers of Calais.

The sculpture Titan dates from the year 1985. The entire figure, writes Gohr, "is captured in a poignant sign, evoking energy concentrated in space ... Every detail serves to define a figure that is treated as an allegory of power and directedness ... The work can be perceived only in statuesque terms, not in terms of motion halted in time, as in the counterpoise of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture."

- From "20th Century Art Museum Ludwig Cologne"

Markus Lupertz Images

1985-86 Griechisches Interieur (Greek Interior)
1987 Der heilige Franziskus verhindert die Vernichtung der Ratten (St. Francis Preventing the Extermination of the Rats)
1986 Hirte mit Vogel (Shepherd with Bird)


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