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Model for a Sculpture

Georg Baselitz

Model for a Sculpture

Georg Baselitz
  • Date: 1980
  • Style: Neo-Expressionism
  • Genre: sculpture
  • Media: wood

Model for a Sculpture, Baselitz's first sculpture, typifies his crude treatment of wood in this medium –- a treatment analogous to his treatment of paint in his previous work. Similar in its primitivizing tendency to the work of artists such as Ludwig Kirchner, Baselitz found inspiration for the approach in African sculpture, believing it to offer a model for a more spontaneous expression of movement and human emotion. The work was first exhibited in the West German Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1980. Baselitz had originally intended to show paintings, but changed his mind at a late stage and sent only this sculpture. The work immediately sparked controversy, since the raised arm gesture of the figure is similar to the that of a Nazi salute; the red and black coloring of the figure has also been interpreted as a reference to the colors of the Third Reich. However, other sources for the sculpture suggest themselves: perhaps the Futurist bronze, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, by Umberto Boccioni; and Baselitz has also said that the work was inspired by an edible souvenir available at a market in Dresden. The gesture of the figure –- a figure bound to the ground by a block of wood -– might simply communicate frustration.

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