German Art after 1960

Comprehensive, monographic groups of works by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz, dating from the 1960s to today, enjoy a unique status within the Collection. They stand for the enormous importance of the picture and its continuity in German painting of the last fifty years.

In addition to his need to get closer to art via an emotional route, Frieder Burda discovered his fascination for artisanal completeness and perfection in the mid-1980s through the works of Gerhard Richter. His painting, with its cool and distant aesthetics, paradoxically developed and transported its own unique form of emotionality. In Gerhard Richter's oeuvre, abstract and non-abstract works have stood side by side from the very beginning; from these two poles they encircle visible, invisible and medial realities.

Almost at the same time, the collector discovered Sigmar Polke, an early companion of Richter, whose work explores an intellectual and ingenious cosmos, which evolves mainly from the diversity and sensuousness of the materials used. Irony, wit and magic are repeatedly intermingled in the pictures of Sigmar Polke, which are constantly experimenting with new techniques, here too sometimes in abstract, sometimes in non-abstract compositions. In his halftone pictures (Rasterbilder) the object is reduced into the - paradoxically in this case - manually-produced raster system of the mechanical mass reproduction of a picture.

The art of Georg Baselitz, on the other hand, after almost 20 years of Art Informel and Tachism dictates in post-war West Germany, helped reinvigorate figurative painting from the 1960s on, whereby he appropriated the painting experiences of Abstract Expressionism, whose formal gestural experiments he was, however, able to use for the invention of a transformation of traditional figurative painting. Since 1969, he has turned his compositions upside down in order to neutralise the object vis-a-vis the painting qualities, at the same time guaranteeing that the picture retains a certain binding character through the object.

Arnulf Rainer, whose oeuvre is associated with Tachism and Art Informel, went his own special way from the fifties onwards. In his gestural-expressive overpaintings, in which the picture is made to disappear, almost "drowning" in the paint, he formulates his obsession with loneliness and death. He says that these works are "not abstractions but veilings".

With Baselitz, Richter and Polke, who are undoubtedly amongst the internationally most significant artists of our era, and with Arnulf Rainer, the collector Frieder Burda encounters the artists of his generation. Their oeuvre is particularly comprehensively represented and actually forms the core of the Collection.

Works by Günther Uecker, Heinz Mack, Adolf Luther and Christian Megert represent a significant period of German post-war art history in the Sammlung Frieder Burda. In 1957/58, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene founded the artists’ group ZERO in Dusseldorf, which propagated an idealistic new beginning in art and which was joined shortly afterwards by Günther Uecker. Its central goal was to overcome the subjective-gestural Art Informel in favour of a reduced, elementary language of form with new materials such as synthetic resin, aluminium and glass. Light and movement became essential formative means to allow the effectiveness of the artworks to reach its full potential.