Joseph Beuys

Roses (1952)

About this artwork

The overall theme of this work seems particularly female, from the title to the two representations of a female figure. On the right is an upright, curvy figure, while a female torso and legs can be seen diagonally across the image. Beuys's inclusion of colour in his work is both deliberate and meaningful, as he used colour as a 'substance' in the same way as he incorporated unusual materials into his paintings. As much of his work used neutral colours like greys and browns, colour becomes all the more obvious. Here, he has included pink dots at the feet of the female figure, presumably the 'Roses' of the title.

see media
  • title: Roses
  • accession number: AR00097
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1952
  • measurements: 20.90 x 25.40 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.