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Sigmar Polke

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

Information about the artwork

  • Translated titleLiberty, Equality, Fraternity
  • Year1988
  • MaterialSynthetic resin on synthetic fabric
  • Dimensions301 x 224 cm
  • Year of acquisition1990
  • Inventory numberUAB 345
  • On viewGround floor
  • Copyright© The Estate of Sigmar Polke / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn [2023]

More about the artwork

Sigmar Polke’s paintings from the 1980s often show references to historical pictorial sources of the modern era. Between 1988 and 1989, Polke painted a cycle of 22 pictures on the French Revolution for two exhibitions in a Paris gallery. In “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (1988), the somewhat sarcastic title of the painting suggests that the three impaled heads should be understood as personifications of the concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity. The painting is a biting commentary on the glorification of the primal myth of liberalism, and at the same time seems to refer to the political upheavals in the Eastern Bloc countries (the artist himself grew up in the GDR until he was twelve). Polke’s work also bears witness to his well-known play with styles, characterized not least by his constant experimentation with unconventional materials and supports. The transparent background, created by a special application of acrylic resins, allows the stretcher frame to shine through. The right side of the picture has a barely perceptible glittering zebra pattern, the left a tangle of lines. The flames of the steeple on fire flicker high up towards the sulfur-yellow heads of the executed.

Further artworks

Artwork: "Untitled (Roses)" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Untitled (Roses), 2008 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Untitled (“THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL”) (Lexington)" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Untitled (“THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL”) (Lexington), 2000 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Interior (Gaeta)" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Interior (Gaeta), 1999 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Lepanto I" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Lepanto I, 2001 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Lepanto VI" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Lepanto VI, 2001 yes Upper floor