21.6.24 - 10.11.24

Marina schminkt Luciano, 1975. Museum Ludwig, Köln © Franz Gertsch AG

Dazzling craftsmanship, gigantic formats and a realism so extreme that it seems disturbing. You have to step up close to actually convince yourself that this is in fact painting... Look forward to a wild and surprising meeting with the Swiss hyper-realist Franz Gertsch.

The exhibition is organized by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark in cooperation with Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany.

This summer’s big Louisiana exhibition will be the first comprehensive presentation in Scandinavia of Franz Gertsch (1930-2022). In the second half of the 20th century, the Swiss artist shaped a new, special concept of realism and rose to international fame for his photorealistic paintings and woodcuts.


Huaa…!, 1969 Dispersion på ubehandlet halvlærred © Franz Gertsch AG

Urs Lüthi, 1970

Gertsch came to realism in the late 1960s after first flirting with a more romantic painting and then collages in the Pop Art style. He used photographic prints and projections before transforming the motifs into paintings using a special method and thanks to his great craftmanship.


Using both extreme close-up and a special way of distancing, and mixing abstraction and figuration, Franz Gertsch created a personal and unique take on reality, while seemingly and at all times guarding some close-kept secret.

Gigantic woodcuts

From the 1980s, Gertsch began transforming his photographic sources into woodcuts. Their monumental size alone invests them with the most extraordinary presence. The selected works in the exhibition will provide an overview of the important phases and recurring themes in Gertsch’s oeuvre.

Medici, 1970/1971. Dispersion on unprimed half-linen. Ludwig Forum, Aachen © Franz Gertsch AG

Irène, 1980. Acrylic on unprimed cotton. Olbricht Collection © Franz Gertsch AG

The exhibition features the large-format works of the 1970s, which led to Gertsch’s international breakthrough at documenta in 1972; his iconic portraits of women from the 1980s; and the monumental sections of nature and landscapes from the past two decades. The paintings will be accompanied and complemented by a selection of the artist’s large-scale woodcuts.


The exhibition has to a large extent been created in close collaboration with the artist before his passing in December 2022. This was the last exhibition he would personally help prepare and is also set to be the first major posthumous presentation of his work. It has been realized with generous support from the Franz Gertsch Museum in Burgdorf and will subsequently travel to Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.