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Sigmar Polke, German Painter, Dies at 69

June 11, 2010

Sigmar Polke at his studio in 2007.

Albrecht Fuchs for The New York Times
Sigmar Polke at his studio in 2007.

Sigmar Polke, an artist of infinite, often ravishing pictorial jest, whose sarcastic and vibrant layering of found images and maverick, chaos-provoking painting processes left an indelible mark on the last four decades of contemporary painting, died yesterday in Cologne, Germany. He was 69; the cause was complications of cancer, according to Gordon Veneklasen, a partner at the Michael Werner Gallery New York, the artist’s chief American representative.

Mr. Polke, who was born in Oels in the Silesian region of eastern Germany in 1941, also made prints and sculpture, and in his youth dabbled memorably in Conceptual Art and installation art. His peregrinations in and around the mediums of drawing and photography nearly amount to second and third careers. But his main achievement was to start building on American Pop Art earlier and more astutely than any other painter of his generation. Mainly, he expanded upon Pop Art’s use of images from popular culture, and further complicated it by adding abstraction and an emphasis on painterly process.

Read more at: Sigmar Polke, German Painter, Dies at 69

By ROBERTA SMITH

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2010 10:50 pm

    To understand Art’s evolution, sometimes we need individuals who polarize the scene, thanks…..

  2. July 18, 2010 7:45 pm

    Thank you for the nice little eulogy. He was one of the greats.

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