Renowned German Artist Markus Lüpertz' First U.S. Museum Survey at Hirshhorn and Phillips Collection

May 24, 2017 - Sep 10, 2017 | Washington, DC

Markus Lüpertz: Diamond--Dithyrambic Enlarge image Markus Lüpertz: Diamond--Dithyrambic (© Markus Lüpertz / Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and The Phillips Collection will feature two exhibitions celebrating the work of artist Markus Lüpertz, one of Germany’s most prominent living artists.

This spring collaboration features “Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History” (May 24–Sept. 10) at the Hirshhorn and “Markus Lüpertz” (May 27–Sept. 3) at the Phillips. Together, the exhibitions mark the first in-depth U.S. survey of Lüpertz’s practice, offering American audiences the first chance to see the full creative evolution of a leading neo-expressionist artist of his generation.

Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History @ Hirshhorn Museum

Markus Lüpertz: Babylon--Dithyrambic II Enlarge image Markus Lüpertz: Babylon--Dithyrambic II (© Markus Lüpertz / Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) Curated by the Hirshhorn’s Evelyn Hankins, “Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History” offers an in-depth look at Lüpertz’s formative years of 1962 to 1975, providing critical historical context to what was often viewed as provocative use of military images in post-war Germany.

One of Europe’s most prolific postwar painters, Lüpertz rose to international prominence in the 1980s as a leading figure of neo-expressionism, and he has worked across a wide range of media for more than 50 years.

Lüpertz as a young artist sought to distill abstract expressionism, pop art, and German motifs into a unique style that emphasized pure creative expression to become, as he described it, “a painter without responsibilities.” Highlights include the monumental 40-foot “Westwall [Siegfried Line]” (1968), which has never been shown in the U.S., “Donald Ducks Hochzeit (Donald Duck’s Wedding)” (1963) and “Deutsches Motiv III—dithyrambisch” (1972).

“A prolific painter, sculptor, poet and jazz musician, Lüpertz crafted a unique visual vocabulary out of an alchemy of influences, from the poetry of Friedrich Nietzche to the social and political history of his native Germany,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “We are pleased to present these dynamic works, which offer one artist’s striking response to the world around him.”

Markus Lüpertz @ The Phillips Collection

Markus Lüpertz: Der große Löffel (The Large Spoon) Enlarge image Markus Lüpertz: Der große Löffel (The Large Spoon) (© Markus Lüpertz / The Phillips Collection) The Phillips Collection’s “Markus Lüpertz” is curated by Director Dorothy Kosinski and will trace the entirety of the artist’s five-decade career from the 1960s through the present. Organized in close collaboration with the artist and his long-time gallerist Michael Werner, the exhibition was first inspired by a generous gift in 2015 of artworks from Werner’s personal collection.

Markus Lüpertz, who began painting in a postwar Germany dominated by American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, has exhibited a preoccupation with the relationship between figuration and abstraction over the course of his career. Demonstrating this relationship through nearly 50 paintings, the exhibition at the Phillips includes important examples from Lüpertz’s “dithyrambic” pictures and provocative paintings of German motifs.

Markus Lüpertz: Deutsches Motiv– dithyrambisch II (German Motif—Dithyrambic II) Enlarge image Markus Lüpertz: Deutsches Motiv– dithyrambisch II (German Motif—Dithyrambic II) (© Markus Lüpertz / The Phillips Collection) “Throughout his remarkable career, Markus Lüpertz has insistently challenged and provoked art historical givens and the norms of modernism,” said Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski. “Painting is a life ethos for him in which he grapples with fundamental issues of art and living, enabling us to see and understand our world.”

This marks the first formal collaboration between the Hirshhorn and the Phillips. A joint catalog will offer new scholarship on Lüpertz’s development, with contributions by both curators and other authors.

These exhibitions are presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Germany as part of the EU Month of Culture

Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History @ Hirshhorn Museum

May 24 - September 10, 2017


Markus Lüpertz: Meet the Artist: In conversation with Richard Shiff

Wednesday, May 24, 6:30 pm, Lerner Room

On the eve of two groundbreaking exhibition openings—Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Markus Lüpertz at the Phillips Collection—the artist will recount his historic practice for a special Meet the Artist program in conversation with art historian Richard Shiff. English translation will be provided for this program.

Friday Gallery Talk: Evelyn Hankins on Markus Lüpertz

Friday, June 2, 12:30 pm (Meet at the Information Desk)

Hirshhorn curator Evelyn Hankins will offer insight into rarely shown masterpieces from postwar Germany in Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History.

Markus Lüpertz @ The Phillips Collection

May 27 - September 3, 2017


Postwar German Art: Fellow's Perspective

Thursday, June 22, 6:30 pm

University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art History Max Rosenberg discusses 20th-century German art after World War II, including Markus Lüpertz. Dr. Rosenberg is writing a book based on his dissertation, “Transforming Documenta: Art, Legitimacy and Modernity in Postwar West Germany.”