Beginning in 1963, he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The academy expelled him because of some of his (left-wing) political activities and neo-dadaist actions.
In 1989, he became professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt am Main.
Immendorff attended the boarding school Ernst-Kalkuhl Gymnasium as a student. Beginning in 1963, he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Initially he studied for three terms with the theater designer Teo Otto. But after Otto threw him out of his class for refusing to let one of his paintings serve as stage-set decoration, Immendorff studied under the famed Conceptual artist Joseph Beuys. Later the academy expelled him because of some of his (left-wing) political activities and neo-dadaist actions.
Jorg Immendorff worked as an art teacher at a public school from 1969 to 1980, and then as a free artist, holding visiting professorships all over Europe. In 1989, he became professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt am Main and in 1996 he became professor at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf - the same school that had dismissed him decades earlier as a student.
Since the 1970s, he worked closely with the painter A. R. Penck from Dresden, Germany. He also created several stage designs, including two for the Salzburg Festival. In 1984 he opened the bar La Paloma near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg St. Pauli and created a large bronze sculpture of Hans Albers there. He also contributed to the design of André Heller's avant-garde amusement park "Luna, Luna" in 1987.
During his artistic career, Immendorff also created various sculptures; one spectacular example was a 25 m tall iron sculpture in the form of an oak tree trunk, erected in Riesa in 1999.
Immendorff was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in 1998. When he could not paint with his left hand any more, he switched to the right.
In August 2003 Jörg Immendorff was caught in the luxury suite of a Düsseldorf hotel with the prostitutes and some cocaine. At the trial in July 2004, he admitted to having organized 27 similar orgies between February 2001 and August 2003. He was sentenced to 11 months on probation and was fined 150,000 Euros. The mild verdict was justified with Immendorff's illness and his extensive confession. He had been suspended from his position at the university but was reinstated after the verdict.
In November 2005, he was treated by emergency physicians and was admitted to a hospital, where a tracheotomy had to be performed to help him breathe. As of 2006, he used a wheelchair full-time and did not paint anymore; instead he directed his assistants to paint following his instructions.
He succumbed to the disease on May 27, 2007, at the age of 61. He died in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and his ashes were scattered in the Mediterranean Sea. In his will, he left his entire estate, estimated at 15-18 million Euros, to his wife.
Back to Front
Gyntiana - The Birth of Onionman
King in Bedlam
Gate of the Sun
Society of Deficiency
Café Deutschland. Contemplating The Question - Where Do I Stand
The Rake's Progress
Café de Flore
Surrealistisches Tribunal I
All's Well That Ends Well
C.D. - Nachfolger. Kapelle am Wegesrand
Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait I)
In 2006, he selected 25 of his paintings for an illustrated bible. In the foreword he described his belief in God.
During his artistic career, his paintings were sometimes reminiscent of surrealism and often used heavy symbolism to convey political ideas. His best known work was "Cafe Deutschland" series of sixteen large paintings (1977-1984). In it, Immendorff had disco-goers symbolize the conflict between East and West Germany.
"Something is beautiful if it is honest. If you do an engaged piece of work, which is sincere, the concept of beauty meets the concept of truth."
"Who don't understand that a good whore does not divulge anything about her clients."
He was a member of the art movement Neue Wilde.
In August 2003 Jörg Immendorff was caught in the luxury suite of a Düsseldorf hotel with seven prostitutes (and four more on their way) and some cocaine. More cocaine was found in his studio; all in all, the found substances contained 6.6 grams of pure cocaine, above the legal threshold for personal use. In interviews, he attempted to explain his actions with his terminal illness and as an expression of his "orientalism" that provided inspiration for his work. He cooperated with the prosecution, admitted to having taken cocaine since the early 1990s and supplied the name of his dealer. At the trial in July 2004, he admitted to having organized 27 similar orgies between February 2001 and August 2003. He was sentenced to 11 months on probation and was fined 150,000 Euros. The mild verdict was justified with Immendorff's illness and his extensive confession.
In 2000, Immendorff married his former student Oda Jaune. The two had daughter, Ida, who was born on August 13, 2001.