Franz Gertsch

*1930 in Mörigen (CH)


Franz Gertsch, Medici, 1971/1972, dispersion on unprimed canvas, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, © Franz Gertsch, museum franz gertsch, Burgdorf

Franz Gertsch had his international breakthrough with the painting Medici at documenta 5 in 1972. Only three years earlier, he had discovered his own photographs as templates for his works. Completely relaxed and obviously enjoying themselves, five young men are leaning against and over the railing of a red-and-white building-site fence. It is the group of the young artist Luciano Castelli (second from left), a key figure of Lucerne’s bohemian scene, which Gertsch depicted several times in the 1970s. The link to the well-known Florentine dynasty that the title suggests is established through the name of the building firm, which is displayed upside down on a board of the fence. The illustrious name of the House of Medici, synonymous with generous patronage of culture and architecture, blocks in this case the access to a cultural institution, because the structure is in front of the Museum of Art in Lucerne, which was closed for renovation at the time the picture was taken. With a humorous nod to the Italian Renaissance, Gertsch captures the spirit and the zeitgeist of the 1970s, as a commentator on and silent admirer of a young generation in an atmosphere of protest and pioneer spirit.