Sigmar Polke (1941 – 2010)
Sigmar Polke was an influential German artist known for his distinctive paintings and photographs. He often worked with non-traditional artistic materials and experimented with a wide variety of styles and subjects. He was born in Poland during World War II. After the war, his family was expelled to East Germany where the artist spent his early years until his move to West Germany in 1953.
Polke studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where he co-founded the movement now known as Capitalist Realism with fellow artists Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg. The artists depicted and critiqued the growing consumerism of West Germany, drawing on Pop Art and media influences. The group organised the notable 1963 art exhibition Demonstration for Capitalist Realism.
By the end of the 1960s, Polke had had solo exhibitions at numerous galleries including Galerie René Block, Berlin; Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf; Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich; and Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne.
He participated in numerous international biennales and exhibitions including Documenta, the Bienal de São Paulo, and the Venice Biennale, and received a number of awards, including the Golden Lion for his solo presentation at the West German Pavilion in 1986 at the Venice Biennale.
Polke worked predominantly with photography in the 1970s and returned to working with paint in the 1980s, making abstract works that drew on chance reactions between materials. In the last two decades of his life, he produced paintings focused on historical events. He died on June 10, 2010 in Cologne, Germany at the age of 69.
His works are held in the permanent collections of major international museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Broad, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou – Musée National d‘Art Moderne, Paris; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; and Tate Modern, London, among others.
Sigmar Polke – Alchemie und Arabeske, Feb 11 – May 21, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden
Sigmar Polke. Early Prints, Mar 20 – May 22, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963–2010, Oct 09, 2014 – Feb 08, 2015, Tate Modern, London, UK
Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963–2010, Apr 19 – Aug 03, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Sigmar Polke. La démultiplication de l’humour. Les éditions dans la collection Axel Ciesielski, les Abattoirs, Jan 31–May 04, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – FRAC Midi Pyrénées, Toulouse, France
Sigmar Polke. Photographische Arbeiten aus der Sammlung Garnatz, May 15 – Aug 31, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany
Sigmar Polke. Eine Retrospektive 1963–2005. Die Sammlungen: Frieder Burda, Josef Froehlich, Reiner Speck, Jun 22 – Oct 07, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria
Sigmar Polke. Alice in Wonderland, Oct 1- Oct 30, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokio, Japan
Sigmar Polke. Recent Paintings and Drawings, 1998–2002, Nov 15, 2002 – Apr 06, 2003,
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA
Sigmar Polke et la Révolution Française, June 29 – Sept 24, Musée de la Révolution Française, Vizille, France