New Leipzig School
History and characteristics
The "old" Leipzig School was a term used by art journalists which had become established by some time no later than 1977, and the involvement of Werner Tübke, Wolfgang Mattheuer and Bernhard Heisig with documenta 6. The students of those artists, including Sighard Gille and Arno Rink, can be seen as the second generation of the Leipzig School.
The New Leipzig School, as a third generation, relates to the post-reunification climate of modern Germany and is closely linked with the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig. It usually refers to the students of Gille and Rink, but occasionally those of Rolf Kuhrt or even Heisig or Tübke. Its works tend to be characterised by a combination of figurative and abstract elements. Clear messages, which were characteristic of the "first" Leipzig generation of painters, are no longer present.
The list of painters that are classified in this school is not fixed, but has included Neo Rauch, Christoph Ruckhäberle and Matthias Weischer. Others who have been associated with the term include Tim Eitel, Tilo Baumgärtel, Christian Brandl, David Schnell, Aris Kalaizis, Martin Kobe, Michael Triegel, Ulf Puder, Rosa Loy and Axel Krause.
A significant role in the success of the "New Leipzig School" was played by the gallery owner Gerd Harry Lybke, who introduced the works of Rauch in particular to the globally important American art market. Other Leipzig artists were able to achieve international acclaim in the wake of this, such as the Greek-German painter Aris Kalaizis. Parallels can be seen between these successes and those of the Young British Artists. Also crucial for the Leipzig painters' success was Matthias Kleindienst, gallery owner and head of the woodcutting workshop at the Hochschule, whose search for talent paved the way for many young Leipzig artists, including Weischer. Another major factor in their market success was the "LIGA" art project, established in Berlin in 2002 under the direction of Christian Ehrentraut, a former collaborator with Lybke.
Most of the artists tagged as "Leipzig School" members reject the classification. The art historical community has also consistently avoided the term on account of its vagueness and imprecision. However, it is widely used as a label and marketing tool in the world of art dealership.
Many painters and galleries associated with the School are based in the "Music District" (Musikviertel) in the south-western part of the inner city, and more recently at the Leipzig Cotton Mill in Plagwitz.
- E.g. New Leipzig School Provides a Study in Hype Blake Gopnik, The Washington Post, 3 October 2006. (in English)
- The New Leipzig School Arthur Lubow, The New York Times, 8 January 2006. (in English)
- Das Unbehagen mit der Neuen Leipziger Schule Die Welt, 2 March 2008. (in German)
- How the Leipzig artists are taking on the world Tony Paterson, The Independent, 10 May 2006. (in English)
- Neuen Leipziger Schule: Die stille Revolte Christian Schüle, Die Zeit, 21 July 2005. (in German) Available in English here.
- The AI Interview: Neo Rauch Robert Ayers, ARTINFO, 6 June 2007. (in English)
- International Hotspot, Hip Community or Art Ghetto? – the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei Sigrun Hellmich, Goethe-Institut, July 2009. (in English)