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Georg Baselitz (b. 1938)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Georg Baselitz (b. 1938)

Porträt des Mitglieds der Akademie I. P. Pavlov II (M. Nesterov) (Portrait of the Member of the Academy I. P. Pavlov II (M. Nesterov))

Georg Baselitz (b. 1938)
Porträt des Mitglieds der Akademie I. P. Pavlov II (M. Nesterov) (Portrait of the Member of the Academy I. P. Pavlov II (M. Nesterov))
signed, titled and dated ‘10. VIII 99 ‘M. Nesterov Porträt des Mitglieds der Akademie I. P. Pavlov’ II G. Baselitz’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
98 ½ x 78¾in. (250 x 200cm.)
Painted in 1999
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Klosterneuburg, Sammlung Essl, Georg Baselitz: Im Walde von Blainville, Malerei 1996-2000, 2000-2001, p. 48 (illustrated in colour, p. 49).
Saint-Étienne, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain Saint-Étienne Métropole, Georg Baselitz: Russenbilder / Les tableaux russes, 2007, pp. 82 and 168, no. 83 (illustrated in colour, on the cover; illustrated in colour, pp. 15 and 82). This exhibition later travelled to Seoul, National Museum of Contemporary Art and Hamburg, Deichtorhallen Hamburg.
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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Paola Saracino Fendi
Paola Saracino Fendi

Lot Essay

‘ The hierarchy which has located the sky at the top and the earth at the bottom is, in any case, only a convention. We have got used to it but we don’t have to believe in it. The only thing that interests me is the question of how I can carry on painting these pictures.’
– Georg Baselitz

Porträt des Mitglieds der Akademie I. P. Pavlov II (M Nesterov) (Portrait of the member of the Academy I. P. Pavlov II (M Nesterov)) is a vivid 1999 painting from Georg Baselitz’s series of Russenbilder (Russian Paintings). Informed by his childhood and the years of training Baselitz spent in East Germany during the Second World War, then under the occupation of Soviet troops, the works in this series are each based on paintings representative of Socialist Realism, the aesthetic program enforced in advocacy of the Revolution and, later, in Stalinist propaganda. Marking a stylistic break in Baselitz’s work, which had long been laden with thick, expressive oil paint, the series employs fluid washes and dabs of colour in an almost watercolour-like approach. The present work is based on Mikhail Nesterov’s Portrait of Ivan Pavlov (1935). With Baselitz’s typical disregard of the rules, this subject is flipped 45 degrees anti-clockwise and painted in haphazard Pointillist style against a white background. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) was the Soviet Union’s most famous scientist. His theory of the ‘conditioned reflex’ had been central to the Stalinist project of mechanising the human machine. In Nestorov’s painting, made toward the end of Pavlov’s life, the scientist is absorbed by the observation of a bouquet of white flowers; his arms are outstretched and his hands clenched on a sheet of virgin paper. In Baselitz’s version, a blank white void is created at the lower third of the painting, as if Pavlov is gazing at the prospect of his own disappearance. The scientist is atomised: the small, loose dots with which he is depicted seem to threaten him with dissolution, and put the smooth illusionism of Nestorov’s Socialist Realist painting in abstract crisis. His face, described in more solid lines, gives way from the tired resignation of Nestorov’s version to a comically childish and anguished expression. Reframing art history, disrupting pictorial convention and subverting the aura of the grand portrait, Baselitz transforms his source material with politically-pointed bravura

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