Detail of Elvira Bach, Untitled, 1980 © Elvira Bach. Ashmolean Collection

Dr Lena Fritsch looking at A. R Penck's artworks in detail

Dr Lena Fritsch at the Ashmolean

About the research project

In 2018 the Ashmolean’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Dr Lena Fritsch was awarded a New Collecting Award by the Art Fund, to research and acquire Neo-Expressionist works on paper.

The Ashmolean’s collections of modern and contemporary art have little of the depth of the museum collections of earlier periods. They include a small group of major German Neo-Expressionist prints by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz and A.R. Penck but the current holdings are not representative of Neo-Expressionism and do not tell a story. To address this, Fritsch is researching and acquiring additional works by these artists, and by other major figures associated with the movement, particularly in Germany. This also includes representatives of younger generations, such as the ‘Neue Wilde’ artists in Berlin, and underrepresented women artists, for example Elvira Bach and Ina Barfuss.


Research aims

  • To create more representative and inclusive narratives of Neo-Expressionism, focussing on works on paper and building on the Ashmolean’s existing prints collection.
  • To enable the museum to display its Neo-Expressionist prints – many of which have never been exhibited before – in meaningful temporary exhibitions and displays.
  • To promote the significance of museum-based curatorial research, including connoisseurship and studies of the socio-political contexts of art, while establishing new relationships with artists, estates and galleries.


Project funders

Art Fund (New Collecting Award 2018)

Project start

October 2018

Project team led by

Dr Lena Fritsch, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford



Collection of Neo-Expressionist works on paper; exhibition in 2021/2022