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A painting in shades of red with brown and green accents.

The painting shows a large figure occupying three-quarters of the picture plane from the right. The figure is made up of rounded shapes in different shades of red, it is surmounted by a brown cross. At the bottom of the top round is an eye placed vertically. It rests upon a round with an ear-shape on the top. A line of trees border the bottom. On the bottom left in the background is red-roofed building. The background is a milky white. Overall, the paint is roughly brushed on, the figures lack fine detail.

Gallery Text

Born Hans-Georg Kern in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, the artist known as Georg Baselitz left East Germany in 1956 for West Berlin. The title of the painting references the artist’s birthplace and the notions of homeland so central to the tradition of German landscape painting. The recent Nazi past and the bifurcation of national identity following World War II, however, had rendered those ideas deeply problematic. At a time when many artists of his generation were abandoning painting, Baselitz remained dedicated to the medium. Openly rejecting the abstract styles predominant in West Germany at the time, Baselitz nonetheless destroyed both the idea and the literal depiction of landscape and the human figure — suggested in Saxon Motif by a stack of fleshy, disembodied forms — through his painterly process. Associating creative principles of disharmony, asymmetry, and fragmentation with his Nordic, Germanic heritage, Baselitz points here to what he felt was an “aesthetic of ugliness” particular to German art.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Georg Baselitz, German (Deutschbaselitz, Germany 1938 -)
Saxon Motif
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Sächsisches Motiv
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1100, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Sixties Experiment/Multiple Strategies
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
195 x 130 cm (76 3/4 x 51 3/16 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Friends Anniversary Collection, Gift of Dorette Hildebrand-Staab
© Georg Baselitz
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 1100 60’s Experiment, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

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Verification Level

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