No other art historical term exerted the same influence on the German art scene at the beginning of the 1980s than the Neue Wilde, the “New Savages”. At the end of the 1970s young artists stormed the exhibition venues with large-format canvas works which caught the eye with their boisterously loud colors and figurative portrayals. The rich world of their motifs, oscillating between direct wit and a relish for provocation, were a stark contrast to the semantics of Conceptual and Minimal Art, generally perceived as dominating the art scene in the preceding years.

The term commonly used down to the present day, the Neue Wilde, was coined in Aachen for an exhibition that took place in the Neue Galerie – Sammlung Ludwig, the later Ludwig Forum, in 1980. For the exhibition Les Nouveaux Fauves – Die Neuen Wilden, the founding director Dr. Wolfgang Becker bracketed together a number of artist groups whose work revealed – in very different ways – links to the historical Fauves movement prominent in France at the beginning of the 20th century. These included the American artists of the Pattern and Decoration movement and the French artist group Supports/Surface, who had been active since the mid-1960s. The German artists shown included Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz, and A.R. Penck. Strictly speaking, none of the latter artists are part of the movement later identified as the Neue Wilde. The title of the exhibition was obviously aiming to describe something else. Nevertheless, the catchy term caught on immediately and from 1980 onwards was firmly established in Germany. The research project – The Invention of the Neue Wilde – examines for the first time how Aachen and the Ludwig Collection were the origin of the term the Neue Wilde, and relocates one of the most important chapters in international postwar art in the furthermost western corner of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The research project will present its findings in a large exhibition to be held in the fall of 2018 in the Ludwig Forum.


Project Manager
Benjamin Dodenhoff
Tel. +49 (0)241-1807 119

Ramona Heinlein
Tel. +49 (0)241-1807 119








Ludwig Forum Aachen
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