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Leipzig School

Artists' movement

1970 in Leipzig
1990 in Leipzig


During the 1960s an art movement developed within the Leipzig art scene which later came to be known as the Leipzig School. It was shaped to a large extent by the three artists Bernhard Heisig, Wolfgang Mattheuer and Werner Tübke, who all taught at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (Academy of Fine Arts) Leipzig, and who influenced a young generation of artists there. It also included Willi Sitte, who taught at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle. Stylistically, the Leipzig School remained heterogeneous but found its common denominator in its focus on representational art. Under the premise of teaching the skills and techniques required for an advanced and exacting level of painting, representatives of the Leipzig School addressed themselves to various artistic traditions, ranging from the Renaissance to Mexican Muralism. In the GDR, art was expected to serve the political system and to correspond stylistically to Socialist Realism. Nonetheless, the painters of the Leipzig School repeatedly gave expression to a subtle criticism of the system; in their works they also examined the inner conflict of the artist with regard to his duties within society. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Leipzig School achieved international fame. Artists like Arno Rink and Sighard Gille were regarded as belonging to the second generation of the Leipzig School, in that they sought greater artistic freedom in an environment that was politically ossified. The major international breakthrough was achieved by the so-called New Leipzig School, after German reunification. Its most famous representative is Neo Rauch, a master student of Heisig. In 2005 he was appointed professor at the art academy, where he inspired artists including Julia Schmidt, Tilo Baumgärtel, Tim Eitel and Christoph Ruckhäberle.

Persons belonging to Leipzig School