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b. 1941, Germany

Markus Lüpertz Biography

Markus Lüpertz is a German Neo-Expressionist artist known to push boundaries while questioning what art is or should be. His unique style of painting simplifies form, blending the figurative and abstract. Often he will crop his compositions to include only heads or faces with torsos. His work references biblical, mythological and historical themes, particularly militarism and the idea of the protagonist in comparison to the anti-hero.

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Lüpertz’s ‘Deutsche Motive’ series in the 1970s caused much controversy. Exploring German history, World War II and the Nazi era, the symbolism he employed initiated a fraught relationship with his audience. Though contentious amidst the moral gloom of the aftermath of war, Lüpertz’s symbols—helmets, officers’ caps and military equipment—focus on formal qualities such as line, colour and texture. These emotional works were significant in shaping the post-war image of Germany. As Robert Ayers wrote in a June 2017 Ocula Magazine report, ‘this strand in Lüpertz’s art is now seen as part of an outdated current in post-war German history, which allowed a younger generation of German people to find their own identity not saddled by their parents’ guilt and as part of a contemporary Europe.’

Though many of his war paintings were completed when Minimalism and Conceptualism were on the rise and painting was falling out of fashion, Lüpertz’s steadfast pursuit of the medium of paint drove him to challenge art historical forces. This is one of the reasons why today he is recognised as one of the most important figures in Neo-Expressionist art. Lüpertz’s other paintings—including flattened and patchy landscapes and loose-limbed figures—are known to tap into ideas of memory, recollection and distortion while referencing philosophers such as Nietzsche. Alongside these works, the artist has produced sculptures (since the 1980s), pottery and poetry. He has also designed sets and costumes for theatre and the opera. 

As a child Lüpertz grew up in Rheydt, Rhineland (formerly West Germany). He entered the School of Applied Art in Krefeld in 1956 and later studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf—one of Germany’s most prestigious art schools—before travelling through Paris and beginning the most active years of his artistic practice. Lüpertz’s career gained much traction over the more than 20 years that he was head of Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.

Today Lüpertz lives and works between Düsseldorf and Berlin, Germany.

Jessica Douglas | Ocula | 2017

Markus Lüpertz Featured Artworks

Männer ohne Frauen, Parsifal by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork painting
Markus LüpertzMänner ohne Frauen, Parsifal, 1994Encaustic and oil on canvas
200 x 162 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Vision des Poussin by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork mixed media
Markus LüpertzVision des Poussin, 2012Mixed media on board in artist’s frame
61 x 104.1 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork painting
Markus LüpertzUntitled, 2008Oil on canvas
178 x 149 x 7 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Arkadien (Clitunno) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork mixed media
Markus LüpertzArkadien (Clitunno), 2018Mixed media on canvas
116 x 97 x 7 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork painting
Markus LüpertzUntitled, 2008Oil on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Arkadien (Amor und Psyche) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork mixed media
Markus LüpertzArkadien (Amor und Psyche), 2018Mixed media on canvas
116 x 97 x 7 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Flora by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork sculpture
Markus LüpertzFlora, 2018Painted bronze
123 x 92 x 63 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery

Markus Lüpertz Recent Exhibitions

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Markus Lüpertz Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Aspen, Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai

Markus Lüpertz In Ocula Magazine

Markus Lüpertz In Related Press

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