The German artist Sigmar Polke, born in Oels, Lower Silesia, in 1941 studied painting at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. Together with his colleagues Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer-Lueg he founded Capitalist Realism in the 1960s, a European reaction to American Pop Art. Polke’s independent work is marked by experimental painting techniques and his use of a broad range of artistic media. Polke's art always demonstrates subversive forms of wit, frequently socio-critical but also full of self-mockery. The artist died in June 2010.
The range of artistic media and techniques that characterise Polke’s work can be seen in the approximately fifteen works included in the Brandhorst Collection. From the small, almost intimate format of the oil painting Goethes Werke (Goethe’s collected works) of 1963, to the monumental and feisty Liberté, egalité, fraternité (Liberty, equalitay, fraternity) of 1988, and to the partly printed, partly painted medium-sized masterpiece Die drei Lügen der Malerei (The three lies of painting) of 1994, the range of Polke’s work in the Brandhorst Collection covers the wide range artist's creative output.