The term Neue Wilde (New Wild Ones) or Neue Heftige (New Fierce Ones) is used to describe artists who came to the public eye in Germany and Austria in the early 1980s with a subjective, carefree and life-affirming style of painting.
They were given the name in reference to the French Fauves, who caused a stir in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century.
The style originated in the early 1980s in the Italian Transavantgarde (Transavanguardia, later also called Arte Cifra) and established itself almost simultaneously in Europe and the USA. In France it was defined as Figuration Libre and in English-speaking countries as New Image Painting, Bad Painting or Wild Style. In Germany and Austria, the term "Neo-Expressionism" was used at first, and later there was talk of "Heftiger" or "Wilder" painting.
Young Savages (New Savages)
The term "Neue Wilde" (New Wild Ones), which had the greatest media impact and eventually became the most common, was first used by the Expressionism expert, art historian and Aachen museum director Wolfgang Becker for an exhibition at the Neue Galerie - Sammlung Ludwig in Aachen in 1980 entitled "Les Nouveaux Fauves - Die neuen Wilden" (The New Wild Ones) and its catalogue, which brought together newly acquired works from the Peter Ludwig Collection from Germany, France and the USA: Baselitz, Lüpertz, Penck, Viallat, Schnabel, Pattern Painting. In the Ludwig Forum's 2018 retrospective "Die Erfindung der Neuen Wilden" (The Invention of the New Wild Ones), the term "style" is used exclusively for the younger German painters in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Hamburg and their cultural environment.
The main characteristics of the art movement are large-format paintings with an accentuated style of painting and deliberate formlessness, sweeping and fierce brushstrokes, strong colourfulness and colour impact. Expressive abstract, sensual representational, neon-grey pictures interspersed with graffiti elements are created.
The pictures arise from the individual feelings of their protagonists and their need for self-expression. They encounter elementary themes - e.g. fear and sexuality - in a stylistically spontaneous and obsessive way.