Joseph Beuys

Dove, Food, Rainbow (1949)

About this artwork

This painting was made while Beuys was a student at the Staatliche Kunstakademie (State Academy of Art) in Düsseldorf, where he studied from 1947 to 1951. In this period immediately after the Second World War, in which Beuys had participated as a fighter pilot, nature was a central source of inspiration. Much of the artist's work included plant and animal forms. Here, he has emphasised the simple outlines of the three elements of the picture, which are arranged harmoniously to form a circle. Beuys had shown a talent for painting in watercolour from a young age, with some of his paintings displayed in his school.

see media
  • title: Dove, Food, Rainbow
  • accession number: AR00095
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1949
  • measurements: 20.70 x 29.70 cm
  • 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.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
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.