Dissertation: Neo Rauch: Bilder 1984–2005

Neo Rauch: Bilder 1984–2005

Ansätze zu einem Werkverständis

Schriften zur Kunstgeschichte, volume 47

Hamburg , 344 pages

ISBN 978-3-8300-7160-0 (print)
ISBN 978-3-339-07160-6 (eBook)

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This first monograph entirely dedicated to the internationally renowned painter Neo Rauch from Leipzig, positions his work in the contemporary art context. Questions about the necessary parameters and the background of such a success are debated as much as the artist’s development itself. The study shows various aspects of the oeuvre in a star-shaped manner in order to deduce and explain the enduring position of the artist today. His academic background at the Academy for Visual Arts Leipzig (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) as well as his socialization in the same city during the 1980ies are treated as much as the socio-cultural politics and the art scene in East- and West Germany of the time. The figure of allegory is introduced as a theoretical framework for mechanisms and more profound interpretations of his works and also helps to elucidate some aspects of the complex development of his pictorial language in the years 1984-2005. To what extent painting, which stands in relation to history, has a societal relevance in times of change and upheaval is shown in a comparative part about Georg Baselitz’ paintings from the early 1960ies and Neo Rauch’s works. As the early waves of the painter’s success were rooted in the USA, the study analyses this phenomenon in order to find the roots of the American fascination for the German painter. These are traced back to the Roosevelt era, while nowadays aspects of nostalgia are as much at work as a certain curiosity for the former archenemy behind the Iron Curtain. In addition the media reception of Neo Rauch’s work is considered alongside the often one-sidedly coined stereotypes between 1990-2005. As the painter from Leipzig keeps being labeled the “reunification painter” (Wendemaler), this study provides insights and explanations as to what the term could mean and to what extent his work is able to reflect sensitivities of some parts of the German society and which spaces for projection it offers. The author offers a first comprehensive study on one of Germany’s most important contemporary painters.

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