In general, the terms "Neue Wilde" or also "Junge Wilde" (Young Wild Ones) comprises neo-expressive German art of the 1980s, its centers were in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. At times the term is also applied to international Neo-expressionism.
The German "Neue Wilden" tied in with the "First Neo-expressionism" of the 1960s, when Georg Baselitz, A. R. Penck, Markus Lüpertz, Bernd Koberling, Karl Horst Hödicke and others sought a new expressive way to return to the figurative. This was the basis for Neo-expressionism in Germany, which became synonymous with the "Neue Wilde", a title of an exhibition in Aachen in 1980. The term is problematic, as it does not reference a form of wild art, but rather wild artists - an alternative description of the tendency is "Heftige Malerei" (Vigorous Painting) which seeks direct contact with the work.
Since subjectivity was one of the most fundamental characteristics of the "Neue Wilde", the "wild" aspect also characterizes their painting style, personally, the artists definitely lived up to the description, parties in Hamburg were always accompanied by masses of alcohol, the wild scene in Berlin was notorious for sexual excess.
The artists, most of them were born in the 1950s, turned against the intellectual coolness of Concept Art and Minimal Art and wanted to establish an innovative figurative, emotional and subjective form of art. The new subjectivity led to a stylistic pluralism, what the artists had in common was a lust for narration, a private coded language, strong coloring, a spontaneous gestural approach and permissive confessions.
Among the main representatives in the large cities were Rainer Fetting, Helmut Middendorf, Salomé and Bernd Zimmer in Berlin, Hans Peter Adamski, Peter Bömmels, Walter Dahn, Jiri Georg Dokoupil, Gerard Kever and Gerhard Naschberger in Cologne and Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen in Hamburg.