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Counting among his influences Art Brut, Art Informel, and Abstract Expressionism, Georg Baselitz's production ranges from painting, drawing, and printmaking to monumental wood sculptures. His works, often addressing issues related to German national identity post-World War II, are characterized by expressionistic mark-making and an unrefined figurative depiction.
Der Hirte belongs to a series of 11 etchings published in 2006 in an edition of 20, named Remix. The title refers to the artist´s decision to re-explore and update old, very personal motifs from his own oeuvre, which he re-produced in a mixed technique of etching and aquatint on yellow printed paper. The act of repetition performed by Baselitz in this series does not result in a copy but is rather the portrayal of an interaction with his own past.
"I want to test whether I can manage to swing myself to the heights where I once was, because I can still find my pictures from back then pretty good." —Georg Baselitz
The present work relates to a 1965 painting featuring a sitting guy, his head far too small, with huge hands and a broad cross. Formally, the subject corresponds to the "new guy" or "hero", a typical figure from Baselitz’ oeuvre. In the new version, Baselitz remixes the figure: still broad-shouldered, the man stands upright and carries a shepherd's staff, asserting itself against the broad aquatint lines of the background.