Markus Lüpertz


Oil, gouache and emulsion paint with collage on irregularly torn and creased paper
34 1/8 x 23 inches (86,5 x 58 cm)

When an artist evokes the “dithyramb” again in the 20th century, he consciously places himself in a row with Dionysus and Nietzsche. Lüpertz reinvents the concept of the dithyrambe and celebrates painting. Taking up the tradition of the choral song in honor of Dionysus, our “Dithyrambe” reflects the ecstatic of the “Dionysian”.
Full of spontaneity and creativity, conceived in a state of intoxication, the painting media, explosive colors and the torn, irregular paper work seamlessly into one another. At first glance, the massive and almost three-dimensional work conjures up disorder and chaos; However, it is precisely the early “dithyrambs” that have a certain symmetry and representational features, such as the shape of a human head - here indicated by the blue circle in the upper half of the picture.
Powerful and “archaic” works like this prove Lüpertz's individual, always intellectual engagement with central themes of painting and his idea of ​​renewal through the “Dionysian”. As an expression of this euphoria and irrepressible creative power, they testify to how Lüpertz reinvents himself again and again.

Über Markus Lüpertz

Born: 1941 in Liberec/Böhmen
Lives and works in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Karlsruhe

On April 25, 1941, the "Malerfürst" was born in Bohemian Liberec. Powerful and expressive is the artistic signature of the painter and sculptor, who stages himself in public with extravagant suits, earring and cane, thus establishing his own individual artistic persona. His formal education, from 1956 to 1961, included studying at the Werkkunstschule Krefeld, as well as a semester at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, which he had to leave "because of a fight". During this time, the artist earned his living from coal mining and road construction. At the beginning of the 1970s, Lüpertz achieved his breakthrough with large-format motifs, which are celebrated by many as coded icons of the German past. Like Georg Baselitz, he aimed to defy the prevailing Informel. At the same time Lüpertz avoided restrictive topics; even his "Dithyrambic Pictures" from 1963 onwards, which are based on ancient Greek songs of the cult of Dionysus, are only objectifications of the abstract form. In his works he questions no less than the limits of painting and balances the weight of history with his desire to be what he calls a "painter without responsibility."
Commissioned works such as the 12 stained glass windows of St. Andrew's Church in Cologne (2013) or the almost three-meter-high bronze sculpture of Ludwig van Beethoven, which has been in Bonn's Stadtgarten since 2014, consolidate the artistic rank of the long-serving director of the Dusseldorf Academy of Art (1988-2009). Alongside Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz and Anselm Kiefer, Lüpertz is counted among the "Big Five" of German contemporary art.