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Lot #6001
Artists: (185) Signed Portraits by Heinz Gunter Mebusch, with Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring, Gerhard Richter, and More

Rare signed artist's portrait collection, highlighted by Keith Haring, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, and Zao Wou-ki

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Estimate: $20000+
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Rare signed artist's portrait collection, highlighted by Keith Haring, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, and Zao Wou-ki

Remarkable limited edition collection of 199 portrait photographs of artists by German photographer and experimental artist Heinz Günter Mebusch, 185 of which are signed by the sitters. The portraits are gelatin silver prints on baryta paper, all measuring approximately 8.25 x 11.5, and numbered 22/25 on the reverse. Signers include: Joseph Beuys, Arno Breker, Paul Flora, Johnny Friedlander, Ernst Fuchs, Karl Otto Götz, Keith Haring, Jörg Immendorff, Loriot, Heinz Mack, Georg Muche, Gerhard Richter, H. A. Schult, Roland Topor, Günther Uecker, Tomi Ungerer, Wolf Vostell, Dondi White, Shizuko Yoshikawa, Zao Wou-ki, and many more. The portrait set is loosely stored in its original wooden coffer. In overall fine condition.

Heinz Günter Mebusch, a student of Otto Steinert, one of Germany's most important postwar photographers, was active in more than 40 countries in Europe, Africa, and America. His longest and most extensive project was his series of ca. 200 artists' portraits, created between 1978 and 2000 in close collaboration with the sitters. A limited set of 25 copies was produced in the years 1979-1992, often with additional signatures (and an overpainting by Ford Beckman), titled 'Reise zum Planeten ARS.' Almost all of the present prints are signed by the sitters. They are numbered 22 (of a total run of 25) and are presented in their latched wooden case; all are annotated by Mebusch on the reverse and bear his fingerprint.

Now an obscure name, Mebusch in his day was acquainted with all notable artists of his time, exhibiting in Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Vienna, Hollywood ('Polytoxicomania'), Düsseldorf ('Schatzsuche'), San Francisco (Goethe Institute, 1998), and Venice (Biennale, 1999), taught at the Folkwangschule in Essen, and organised or curated numerous art and photo projects, including the 1991 Beuys Festival in Düsseldorf. A small selection of his works was recently shown by the documenta archive, which owns its own copy of the portrait series: 'Taken at very close range, the headshots captivate the viewer through the sitters' intense, direct gaze.'

Rarely encountered complete in the original coffer: the only copy sold at auction within the last decades comprised merely 179 portraits. A detailed list of signers and subjects is available on request.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Art, Literature, and Classical Music
  • Dates: #682 - Ended June 20, 2024