Joseph Beuys

Fettstuhl [Fat Chair] (1964 - 1985)

About this artwork

Fat was a material Beuys loved – when solid it could be shaped and moulded, and when liquid it could flow and soak into other materials. In a similar version of this work, which uses the chair without the addition of vitrine and thermometer, the fat is neatly shaped into a triangular wedge. Here, it is roughly smeared on to the seat, contrasting with the neat lines of the white chair. The simplicity of the chair recalls Van Gogh's famous image of his own chair, painted in 1888. With his keen interest in language, Beuys would have enjoyed the double meaning of the word 'stuhl' as chair and excrement (stool).

see media
  • title: Fettstuhl [Fat Chair]
  • accession number: AR00088
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • date created: 1964 - 1985
  • measurements: 183.00 x 155.00 x 64.00 mm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © DACS 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys

German artist Beuys believed that art was integral to everyday life. His own art was shaped by an experience early in his life. As a Luftwaffe pilot during the war, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea and was saved by nomadic Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped in felt and fat which preserved his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges pulled by dogs. This incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art, which has a redemptive, mystical and ritualistic character. Central to his work were his 'Actions', which involved teaching, audience discussion and performance. The recurrent themes were social and political. Associated with the ecological movement - he was a founder member of the Green Party - he also had a strong influence on German politics.