A. R. Penck

The Dresden-born Penck was often in conflict with the GDR authorities because of his association with nonconformist and dissident artists, and his rejection of Socialist Realism—the state-sanctioned art form. Prevented from studying at the art academies in Dresden and East Berlin, Penck developed a highly idiosyncratic visual language composed of simplified forms and figures. Drawing played an important part in his artistic process from the beginning. The archaic, austere, sculptural image captured in this early sheet reflects the artist’s desire to treat the profile of a girl as a universal form. Although no official funds could be used to acquire Penck’s art, the Kupferstich-Kabinett managed to amass one of the largest public collections of his works on paper.

A. R. Penck
German, 1939–2017
Girl’s Head, in Profile to Left, ca. 1963
INV. NO. C 1965-42
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Photo: Herbert Boswank