Neo Rauch: Blätterrausch II | David Zwirner

Much like his paintings, Neo Rauch’s prints lure the viewer into symbolically layered narratives. His personal iconography includes human figures, animals, and hybrids engaged in mundane, arbitrary tasks—often in familiar but, ultimately, imaginary settings.


The second chapter of the artist’s previous online prints presentation by the same name, the selection featured here exemplifies many of Rauch’s recurring tropes: a small, perched figure carries a megaphone, a sleeping gentleman is overcast by ballerinas, and another character practices juggling in an indecipherable landscape. For Rauch, the medium of lithography, a major part of his artistic practice since 1993, serves as an equal ground for these whimsical pictorial worlds to be intimated, asserted, and wrestled from the realities of everyday life.

A four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Hocker, dated 2020.

Neo Rauch

Hocker, 2020
Four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper

17 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches (45.1 x 34.9 cm) 

“I am mainly concerned with an image’s power of seduction which should vault over the beholder.”

—Neo Rauch

A view of Neo Rauch's studio, dated 2020

Neo Rauch in his Leipzig studio, 2020. Photo by Uwe Walter

Neo Rauch in his Leipzig studio, 2020. Photo by Uwe Walter

A four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Der Hergang, dated 2020.

Neo Rauch

Der Hergang, 2020
Four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper
30 1/2 x 22 1/4 inches (77.5 x 56.5 cm)

The relationship between Rauch’s paintings and his wide array of graphic works—from collographs and silk screens to engravings and lithographs—is not limited to his repetition of motifs. From his print studio in Leipzig, he achieves atmospheric color fields and enigmatic pictorial landscapes that move freely between the paper and the canvas.

A four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Sepia, dated 2019.

Neo Rauch

Sepia, 2019
Four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper

12 3/4 x 16 5/8 inches (32.4 x 42.2 cm)

Working with a master lithographer, Rauch creates his intricate images by either brushing or etching them into stone and coating the surface in a solution that allows the ink to better penetrate it. Multiple colors are then reproduced through a careful series of “color runs.” One inked stone is required for each color, in order for the final work to attain the painterly effect of watercolors or gouaches.

A three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Kogni, dated 2017.

Neo Rauch

Kogni, 2017
Three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper
32 x 23 inches (81.5 x 58.5 cm)
A six-color lithograph and chalk on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Schilfer, dated 2017.

Neo Rauch

Schilfer, 2017
Six-color lithograph and chalk on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper
31 1/8 x 23 3/8 inches (79.1 x 59.4 cm)
A detail from a print by Neo Rauch, titled Schilfer, dated 2017

“By superimposing the various color states, you can achieve lovely velvety depths. This in general is what fascinates me about lithography. That it’s actually a very painterly medium.”

—Neo Rauch

A five-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Toma, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Toma, 2018
Five-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper

23 3/4 x 31 inches (60.3 x 78.7 cm)

In 2012, Rauch set up Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, a foundation in the town of Aschersleben, Germany, where he grew up. The institution is dedicated to the entirety of his graphic work and houses one edition of each print from Rauch’s graphic oeuvre.

A three-color lithograph and chalk on Hahnemühle Lanaroyal paper by Neo Rauch, titled, Lichtbringerinnen, dated 2012.

Neo Rauch

Brandspur, 2017
Four-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper
17 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches (45 x 35 cm)
A three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Frost, dated 2019.

Neo Rauch

Frost, 2019
Three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper

29 5/8 x 23 inches (75.2 x 58.4 cm)

“Rauch’s graphic art is part of [his] complete oeuvre.... Like his drawings, his prints are hardly preliminary sketches or imitations of his paintings. Certainly his graphic art does not arise independently from his paintings, but neither is it created in a dependence that lags behind them.”

—Rudij Bergmann

A three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled blinder Türmer, dated 2019.

Neo Rauch

blinder Türmer, 2019
Three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper

11 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches (29.2 x 36.8 cm)

“My paintings and drawings don’t mirror my dreams. I’m interested in simulating the mechanisms of dreaming—as if I am dreaming.”

—Neo Rauch

A detail from a print by Neo Rauch, titled Strickerin, dated 2018
A three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper by Neo Rauch, titled Strickerin, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Strickerin, 2018
Three-color lithograph on Hahnemühle Alt Worms paper
30 3/8 x 23 7/8 inches (77 x 60.5 cm)

“Whether Rauch’s subjects are going somewhere or nowhere, seeking distance, watching a nearby point, possibly looking nowhere or possibly not even looking, are some of the many questions that his apparently inexhaustible pictorial world poses again and again.”

—Rudij Bergmann

A three-color lithograph and chalk on Hahnemühle Lanaroyal paper by Neo Rauch, titled, Lichtbringerinnen, dated 2012.

Neo Rauch

Lichtbringerinnen, 2012
Three-color lithograph and chalk on Hahnemühle Lanaroyal paper

21 1/8 x 29 1/2 inches (53.7 x 74.9 cm)

“It’s not easy for me to make prints; I find the medium enormously challenging, and I tremble before each and every stone.”

—Neo Rauch

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