Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Kunstsammlung Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Main, Germany
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, Strassburg, Austria
Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London
Painter, printmaker, and sculptor A.R. Penck was born in 1939 in Dresden, Germany, where he witnessed the destruction of a wealth of artistic, cultural, scientific, and architectural treasures by Allied firebombing during World War II. In Dresden, Penck studied painting, becoming a major proponent, alongside figures like Georg Baselitz and Jörg Immendorf, of the combination of expressionistic, gestural mark-making and naïve, totemic imagery that came to be known as Neo-Expressionism. After the war, Penck lived in East Germany; there, he, along with other neo-expressionist artists, were labeled dissidents and made the subjects of secret police surveillance. Despite this official siege (which only came to an end with Germany’s reunification in 1990), the work of Penck and his contemporaries was shown in numerous influential exhibitions in West Berlin and became highly influential for painters elsewhere in Europe and in New York during the 1980s. Works such as his 1984 painting Tskrie 4 are typical of the artist’s oeuvre, employing textual elements as well as a loose, automatic figurative style over fields of color that show signs of erasure and re-working.
In addition to the dozens of international exhibitions held over the course of Penck’s career, the artist’s work has been shown at Madrid’s ARCO, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris. His work is included in the collections of several major institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Kunstmuseum Basel, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest.