Georg Baselitz's Graphic Work

Georg Baselitz reveals himself to be an adventurous virtuoso in the field of graphic art. He purposefully explores the various possibilities, such as etching, linocut, woodcut and drypoint, and does not shy away from crossing the boundaries of the different methods. He is equally keen on an open interaction between graphic art, painting and sculpture and often takes up motifs from his drawings and paintings. As early as the 1960s, he used the unique materiality and effect of graphic art to translate the motifs of his painted pictures − particularly the aggressive iconography of his early paintings – into graphic signs, thus shifting attention from the contents to the process of form-finding.

Baselitz works with breaks and disharmonies to create drama in his graphic work. He denies himself the kind of virtuosity, artistry or routine that accompanies a striving for artisan perfection. In his graphic works, the lines avoid the descriptive character of drawing and repeatedly seek divergence and dissonance.
Baselitz put his pictorial ideas to the test in translating them into graphic art. He wanted to assess whether his drawings and paintings had, indeed, been formally clarified sufficiently for them “to be suitable for this translation.” He had to penetrate the core of his creative idea before he could execute them with the simplicity necessary to graphic art.

If something has changed in my work on paintings and sculptures and drawings or if I’ve had a new idea, my main goal is to use it and execute it in a graphic technique as a correction, a clarification, an exclamation point. ... Georg Baselitz 1989


Cf. Fritz Emslander “Schlafende Hunde wecken. Zu Georg Baselitz’ grafischer Methode” in: Georg Baselitz, Mit Richard unterwegs, Druckgrafik von 1995 – 2015, exh. cat., Schloss Dachau, Dachau, 2016