The Britannia Street Gagosian gallery is currently showing the works of Georg Baselitz in Farewell Bill. The new Baselitz paintings are self-portraits that pay reverence to the great artist Willem de Kooning. Baselitz encountered Kooning’s gestural paintings, Woman I and Woman II, as a student in Germany in 1958.
A traditional portrait depicts a realistic image of a person, through exact proportion and anatomical details, while gestural painting is done through an artist spontaneously putting paint on a canvas without any grand plan. An action painting is often interpreted as a reflection of the artist’s unconscious. Baselitz explores these conventionally separate art forms together and intentionally deprived himself of any overview of his canvas during his artistic process, making his self-portraits a reflection of both his outward appearance and psyche.