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Fluid Identities – Who am I and what can I be?

Themed tour

It matters—Sculpture and Materiality



Spot On

Brandhorst Flag Commission: Nora Turato

Permanent exhibition

Cy Twombly at Museum Brandhorst

Sigmar Polke

Goethes Werke

  • Translated titleGoethe's Complete Works
  • Year1963
  • MaterialOil and lacquer on canvas
  • Dimensions30.4 x 50.4 cm
  • Year of acquisitionca. 1986
  • Inventory numberUAB 338
  • On viewCurrently not exhibited

More about the artwork

Sigmar Polke painted this picture as a student at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he received his second artistic education after leaving his East German home in 1953. In 1963, the same year this work was created, he joined forces with three fellow students: Gerhard Richter, Konrad Lueg, and Manfred Kuttner. Together they launched a movement called Capitalist Realism. Their art did not only bitingly and humorously oppose the ideologically-charged painting practices of the East—known as Socialist Realism—it also objected to the painterly abstraction that dominated West Germany at the time. Their point of reference was American Pop Art with its affirmation of everyday culture and consumer commodities. But what looked promising in the United States did not succeed in ridding Germany of its stale postwar atmosphere. This is also the case with “Goethes Werke,” a trompe-l'œil version of a leather-bound complete edition by Germany’s literary icon. Like an accessory to assert cultural aplomb, this edition can be placed on the bookshelf, and culture is reduced to a banal decoy.

Further artworks

Alexandra Bircken, New Model Army, 2016, UAB 1104aus der Sammlung Brandhorst
Alexandra Bircken New Model Army, 2016
Werkabbildung: Alexandra Bircken, Snoopy, 2014
Alexandra Bircken Snoopy, 2014
Cy Twombly, Untitled (Gaeta), 1993, UAB 468aus der Sammlung Brandhorst
Cy Twombly Untitled (Gaeta), 1993
Cy Twombly , Lepanto X, 2001, UAB 478Lepanto Zyklus aus der Sammlung Brandhorst
Cy Twombly Lepanto X, 2001
Cy Twombly, Rotalla, 1986/1990, UAB 463aus der Sammlung Brandhorst
Cy Twombly Rotalla, 1986/1990