Bleckede, Germany, 1945 – Düsseldorf 2007
Deutschland Café XIII
Oil on canvas
282 x 400 cm
Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1985.2
International Contemporary Art
The Deutschland Café series is considered Jörg Immendorff’s most significant body of work, and has ensured his position as a unique figure among Germany’s Neo-Expressionists. He began it in 1977 and completed nineteen paintings by 1984. The cycle’s combination of history, autobiography and quotation provided a means for Immendorff to investigate the complex nature of postwar Germany’s social, political and artistic inheritance. Here, the surface is crowded with incident and symbols. In one section, a barrel-chested figure seems about to sing or issue a command; in another, two men sit at a bar reading and drinking; and throughout the café, painters are reaching for and handing over paintings made of shards of ice. These join the scattered feathers of the fallen imperial eagle that, its tongue hanging from an open beak, symbolizes a damaged and divided German culture.