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Georg Baselitz

Zwei Hände

Information about the artwork

  • Translated titleTwo Hands
  • Year1984
  • MaterialOil on canvas
  • Dimensions162 x 130 cm
  • Year of acquisition1990
  • Inventory numberUAB 14
  • On viewCurrently not exhibited

More about the artwork

Georg Baselitz has been painting his upside-down pictures since the 1960s. “The reversal of the motif on canvas gave me the freedom to grapple with painterly problems,” he has said. The question of upside-down or right-side-up is left unanswered in “Zwei Hände.” Instead, the painting is concerned with interrogating the means of artistic creation. While in many of his 1980s paintings, Baselitz applied paint to the canvas with his fingers and palms, here the hands have become the very subject of the work. In almost hastily applied, impasto brushstrokes, he has isolated and painted them larger-than-life. They symbolize the artist’s confrontation with the necessary “painter’s toolkit”—especially in painting, hands are the artist’s most important tool and an expression of individual creativity. But even as useless elements detached from the body, their liveliness is captivating. This is due to the gestural traces of vibrant color, which the artist in turn painted with his own hands.

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