Markus Lüpertz

About Artist: Markus Lüpertz may not be the most formidable of the German Neo-Expressionist painters who came to prominence in the U.S. in the 1980s, but, as a recent solo at Michael Werner demonstrated, his work can stand apart by virtue of a certain intimacy of scale and content. Here Lüpertz showed some two dozen pieces, half of them drawings in gouache, chalk and ink and the rest 39 ½ -by-32 inch oils on canvas, from a 2004 series titled “Rückenakt,” a German word that cumbersomely translates in English as “standing nudes seen from behind.” Each of the oils presents the back of a single headless figure. Beyond the foregrounded figure there might be a landscape, or the rudiments of one, or simply a flat expanse with textural brushwork. In some of the paintings, Lüpertz slips a small horizontal vignette depicting a log, ship, or human limb over the top [part of the figure; a snake or a turtle now and then materializes elsewhere in the composition. Such motifs have the quality of things glimpsed or remembered, detached from any narrative necessity but essential to creating an air of mysterious self-sufficiency in each work.

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