Jörg Immendorff. Cafe Deutschland (Style War). 1980

Jörg Immendorff Cafe Deutschland (Style War) 1980

  • Not on view

Between 1977 and 1982, Immendorff created a series of paintings, drawings, and prints titled Café Deutschland, in which the opposing ideologies of East and West Germany are represented on a metaphorical stage. Uninhabited tables occupy the foreground of this monumentally scaled canvas, upon which candles burn in red, black, and yellow — the colors of the German flag. On the surface of a large freestanding bookcase to the left, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate is painted, viewed from the west. Small figures desperately scale the bookcase; it is a stand–in for the Berlin Wall, which physically divided the city from 1961 to 1989. A net hanging at left from the oddly floating green ceiling transforms into stick figures reminiscent of those in the work of the East German artist A. R. Penck (Ralf Winkler), Immendorff’s most important collaborator in this period.

The ideological conflicts alluded to in this work's title and iconography are also reflected in Immendorff's painting style. The artist employed the heroic scale and representational imagery of socialist realism, a style applauded in East Germany but considered retrograde and suspect by his contemporaries at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, including his teacher, the artist Joseph Beuys.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 32.
Acrylic on canvas
9' 2 1/4" x 11' 6" (280 x 350.7 cm)
Gift of Emily and Jerry Spiegel
Object number
© 2020 Jörg Immendorff
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.