Both as an artist and an individual, Georg Baselitz was very aware of life in the highly charged environment of the Cold War. At the same time, in 1965, when he was 27, he was also trying to establish his own position between abstraction and figuration.
“I was certainly an angry artist, that’s how it was – an angry young man, and wasn't happy with anything going on around me – nothing at all. And I had a strong desire for peace and harmony since, of course, I also had a wife and two children. This need for harmony was constantly being disturbed – both by myself and my surroundings – so I tried to develop an internal world. A world where I could say that’s the usual world of art. And if you bear in mind that artists then were far more on their own, far more isolated, than today, and much less in the public eye than now – since there was absolutely no art market, there were no auctions, and only very limited exhibitions – well, it was really a tough time for artists – then you can understand better how it all happened.
But actually, my idea was always to do something which was against things – without now being able to formulate that anti-attitude any better – I was just simply anti whatever it was. Normally, that’s a pre-puberty or adolescent reaction which is no longer right for a 25-year-old artist – you should be 15 or at most 18. But I have to say, in my case this adolescent state continued a very, very long time. Yet these paintings certainly have retained their element of surprise – even for me, and for all that time, all these decades. That’s why I find it so interesting and think they definitely ought to be exhibited. Not as a historical event, but as a biographical event – since I’ve moved on, and I’m doing quite different things today. And there’s sure to be any number of people who know me, but who would never connect me with this sort of picture … because they know me as the ‘upside down’ artist, or someone who paints birds … or what the hell do I know… So even today, there are still totally unanswered questions about many, many aspects of these paintings.”