Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden / From the Floor

Neo Rauch is one of the best-known artists from the Leipzig school in Germany. His psychologically complex paintings have been widely collected and written about for more than twenty years. Featuring more than one hundred fifty never or rarely seen works that span over thirty years of Rauch’s career, this exhibition presents drawing as an essential but often overlooked aspect of his oeuvre. A collaboration between The Drawing Center and the Des Moines Art Center, the show was presented first in Des Moines from September 27, 2018–January 6, 2019.

The drawings, which Rauch describes as “dreams on paper,” are made during periods of intense painting activity and are left on the floor of the studio for his assistant to pick up and place in flat files for storage. Rauch, who never makes preparatory sketches or drawings before he begins painting, uses the medium instead to mine his own subconscious and to visualize characters and scenarios for the works in progress. His drawings range from thumbnail compositional sketches for paintings, to phone doodles, to figure and landscape studies, and to more formal and completed works.

Co-organized by Brett Littman, former Executive Director of The Drawing Center, and Jeff Fleming, Director of the Des Moines Art Center, with Amber Harper, former Assistant Curator at The Drawing Center.

Exhibition Materials


Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden / From the Floor

Past Programs