Georg Baselitz masterpiece leads contemporary German works at Sotheby's
A post-war masterpiece by German painter Georg Baselitz looks set to achieve a record price at Sotheby's next month.
Mit Roter Fahne (With Red Flag), painted in 1965, is one of the standout lots in the forthcoming Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on March 8.
Baselitz was born in 1938, and grew up in a country psychologically scarred by the effects of WWII. His 'Heroes' series, painted in the mid-1960s, feature monumental figures in tattered battle dress, at once defiant and defeated.
"Considered one of the most important painters of his time, the artist has assiduously challenged the realities of history and art history in order to deliver a searing analysis of human existence in the era following the Second World War," said the auction house.
"Just as Berlin and the Wall became concrete metaphors for the global stand-off of the Cold War, so Baselitz’s Hero paintings today stand as icons of a history that informs our existence in the Twenty-First Century."
Having previously been exhibited around the globe, including Baselitz's landmark retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2007, Mit Roter Fahne now comes to auction with an estimate of £6.5 - £8.5 million.
The current record price for a work by Baselitz currently stands at £4.69 million, set at Sotheby's in March 2016.
The rare painting is one of 17 works by German artists to be offered in London, illustrating the growth of the market for German Contemporary art.
According to Sotheby's, the past five years has seen a 31% increase in bidders on German Contemporary Art, and Gerhard Richter remains the world's most collectible living artist, with auction sales totalling more than $1 billion since January 2012.
Richter’s 1982 polar landscape Eisberg is also amongst the sale's standout lots, valued at £8-£12 million, alongside important works by the likes of Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Martin Kippenberger and Wolfgang Tillmans.
"Seismic moments of social and political change in history have always created seismic changes in art, something we undoubtedly see in post-war Germany," commented Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Europe.
"Many of these artists tackled challenging; some might say profound, subject matter, while at the same time creating new visual languages which redefined European art history."