To toast the Metropolitan Museum of Art 150th anniversary in 2020, artist Georg Baselitz and his wife, Elke, have gifted six inverted portraits to the New York institution. The works all date to 1969, and they will be on view in the exhibition “Georg Baselitz: Pivotal Turn” through July 18.
The portraits depict Baselitz’s friends and colleagues in the German art world, including journalist Martin G. Buttig, gallerists Franz Dahlem and Michael Werner, and collector Karl Rinn. The works have been in the artist’s collection for six decades, and Baselitz created them to subvert the conventions of the portraiture genre. The effect is one of disorientation for the viewer, who must reconsider their perspective to distinguish the details of each work.
“Elke and I hold a special place in our hearts for the Met and New York,” Baselitz said in a statement, adding, “It brings tremendous joy and satisfaction knowing that these six works that have remained in our collection and that mark a significant moment in the evolution of my approach to painting will be an integral part of the Museum’s historic collection.”
“This formative group of early portraits by one of the greatest painters of our time is an important addition to the Met’s outstanding collection,” Max Hollein, director of the museum, said in a release. “In documenting a close group of friends and family, these works manifest a very personal moment, as well as a decisive turn in Baselitz’s career.”
Prior to this landmark donation, the Met owned three paintings and 18 works on paper by the artist.