Jörg Immendorff (1945 – 2007)
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Jörg Immendorff was a German artist, well-known for his innovative style of painting. Immendorf studied for a short time at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf but was expelled due to his radical political views and involvement with controversial neo-Dadaists. While at the Academy, Immendorf studied under Joseph Beuys, one of the best-known “Action Artists”.
After leaving the Academy, Immendorf found a teaching position at a public school. For over ten years, from 1969 to 1980, Immendorf taught painting classes. During the 1980s, Immendorf travelled around Europe, painting and visiting universities upon invitation. By 1989, Immendorf gained professorship at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt am Main. In the mid 1990s, Immendorf became a professor at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, which was an ironic turn of events after being expelled from the Academy years prior.
Immendorf’s paintings are usually large-scale works, filled with politically-loaded imagery. Many of his paintings refer to the tension that existed between East and West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Immendorf was connected to the German art movement, Neue Wilde, and worked alongside painters such as A.R. Penck.
In addition to traditional oil painting on canvas, Immendorf worked on various stage sets, often for the Salzburg Festival. Immendorf also opened a bar known as La Paloma in Hamburg and created a number of public sculptures. One of Immendorf’s well-known sculptures is a twenty-five meter oak tree made out of iron in Riesa.
Over time, Immendorf’s eccentric behavior was exposed in the media. In 2000, he married Oda Jaune, a former student from Bulgaria who was thirty years younger. In 2003, Immendorf was found in a hotel with a large amount of drugs and numerous prostitutes. Immendorf was prosecuted and sent to trial, revealing his addiction to cocaine and regular organization or orgies with prostitutes. Immendorf was heavily fined and put on probation for nearly a year. While on probation, Immendorf was unable to teach but did resume his position afterwards.
In 2004, Immendorf funded a project to research Lou Gehrig’s disease, an illness that he developed in the late 1990s. The disease eventually deteriorated his health to the point that he could no longer paint. Immendorf hired assistants to help him with projects until his death in 2007.
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