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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 As Robert Ayers wrote in a June 2017 Ocula Magazine report, ‘this strand in Lüpertz’s art is now seen as part of an outdated current in post-war German history, which allowed a younger generation of German people to find their own identity not saddled by their parents’ guilt and as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

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Amor + Psyche by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzAmor + Psyche, 2013Oil on canvas in artist frame
51 x 40.8 x 6.7 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Vision des Poussin by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzVision des Poussin, 2012Mixed media on board in artist’s frame
61 x 104.1 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Susanne (Märkisch) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzSusanne (Märkisch), 2018Mixed media on canvas
219 x 263.5 x 7 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Arkadien (Archeron) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzArkadien (Archeron), 2018Mixed media on canvas
217 x 267 x 9 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Das Bad (Märkisch) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzDas Bad (Märkisch), 2018Mixed media on wood
183 x 186.5 x 7 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Palette (Arkadien) Altrosa by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzPalette (Arkadien) Altrosa, 2018Mixed media on canvas
116 x 97 x 7 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Tod des Fragonard by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzTod des Fragonard, 2018Painted bronze
76 x 185 x 102 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
Arkadien (Libellen) by Markus Lüpertz contemporary artwork
Markus LüpertzArkadien (Libellen), 2018Mixed media on canvas
217 x 277 x 9 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Enquire about this work

Markus Lüpertz Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Selections at Almine Rech, Brussels
Closed
11–22 May 2020 Group Exhibition Selections Almine Rech, Online Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Markus Lüpertz, Markus Lüpertz at Almine Rech, Paris
Closed
13 October–24 November 2018 Markus Lüpertz Almine Rech, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018 at Almine Rech, London
Closed
2 October–17 November 2018 Group Exhibition A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018 Almine Rech, London

Markus Lüpertz Represented By

Markus Lüpertz In Ocula Magazine

Markus Lüpertz: a bull in the china shop of cultural history Ocula Report Markus Lüpertz: a bull in the china shop of cultural history By Robert Ayers, Washington, D.C.

This is quite an event: twin exhibitions of paintings by Markus Lüpertz, one of the giants of late 20th-century European art, taking place at The Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. This first collaboration between these two jewels in Washington, D.C.'s cultural crown, Markus Lüpertz (at The Phillips until 3...

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Markus Lüpertz In Related Press

The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Related Press The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World 12 May 2018, Hyperallergic

'A faint, beautiful memory' is how curator Norman Rosenthal described A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018, the current show at Almine Rech Gallery on the Upper East Side. What he’s remembering, as spelled out in the exhibition’s title, is the seminal survey, A New Spirit in Painting, which opened, barely, at the Royal Academy of Arts...

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