Neo Rauch

Neo Rauch
Der Rückzug, 2006
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Neo Rauch
Der Rückzug, 2006

The Retreat
Oil on canvas, two parts, 300 x 420 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Neo Rauch addresses the fundamental issues of painting in the modern era – the relationship between plane and spatial illusion, between abstraction and figuration – in a new way. Der Rückzug (The retreat), a painting whose title remains enigmatic, manifests this clearly in the cluster of coloured brushstrokes in the lower right-hand corner, which through the shadow it casts has a three-dimensional appearance, but out of which, at the same time, something sinister seems to be growing. Rauch’s style is characterized by his incorporation of popular images of the twentieth century, including comics and advertising brochures, his combination of surreal, dream-like elements, his rational play with the irrational and his choice of palette. A particular feature of the present work are its quotations from the artist’s own œuvre: there appear to be two tondi hanging in the pavilion in the background, one of them Rauch’s Plazenta of 1993, an important painting in his artistic development.

Neo Rauch
Neo Rauch

b. 1960, Leipzig

Rauch studied art under Arno Rink at the Art Academy in Leipzig, becoming a master-class student under Bernhard Heisig from 1986 until 1990. Following German reunification he was Heisig’s assistant at the Academy from 1993 to 1998. In 1997 Neo Rauch was awarded the art prize of the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper. As the euphoria surrounding the Young British Artists (championed by Charles Saatchi) abated, the international art market in the late 1990s began courting the artists of the ‘Leipzig School’. Since that time Neo Rauch has become an extremely successful German export, above all to the United States.

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