Against a dark reddish-brown background, four creatures crowd into the pictorial space, craning their long necks. Bald-headed, they grow into the picture like sprouts. They neither inhabit a perspectivally defined space nor do they participate in a pictorial narrative. The title, Oberon, points to the mythic king of the elves and fairies in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Oberon symbolizes an alternative world that is not part of everyday life – just like Baselitz’s painting, which does not depict the world around us but creates its own pictorial reality.
In 2010 the Städel Museum acquired four major works of contemporary German art thanks to a donation by Dorette Hildebrand-Staab. Despite the prevailing opinion at that time, the donor had recognised the significance of Georg Baselitz early on and she encouraged and supported the artist for many years. The four paintings which made their way into the Städel’s holdings through her gift had already been purchased by the patroness of the arts in the 1960s, in part from the artist himself.