The American artist Kitaj - along with his friends David Hockney, Lucian Freud, and others - was among the pioneers of figurative painting and is today seen as one of the great mavericks of 20th century art. R.B. Kitaj created an extensive oeuvre with strong autobiographical traits that explore central questions of the 20th century. The guiding theme of R.B. Kitaj's life and work is identity in the modern age. Kitaj's obsessive grappling with his own "Jewishness" coupled with his study of role models such as Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Walter Benjamin led him to develop an idea and concept for "Jewish" art, at whose core was the experience of diasporic existence. For Kitaj, art was a medium of emotional and intellectual exploration. He himself was an avid collector of books and found themes and motifs in intellectual history and literature, but also in the works of great artists, whose fragmentary images appeared in his works placed in a new context. R.B. Kitaj's colorful and provocative compositions are picture puzzles with lifeworld and philosophical references.
1932 born in Cleveland
2007 died in Los Angeles
1959-1997 lived and worked in London, co-founder of the London School
solo exhibitions in Düsseldorf, Madrid, Wien, Oslo, the USA and in the Tate Gallery London