Joseph Beuys

The Table (1952)

About this artwork

For Joseph Beuys, drawings were a way to work out ideas in their early stages. He described them as 'reservoirs' from which he could take source material and return to many times. The look of the drawing was not of central important to Beuys, as it was primarily designed to capture and represent his ideas. In this drawing, a page of calculation forms the backdrop for a male figure, drawn in iron chloride, who adds a human presence. The words on the ink stamp can be translated literally as 'Main Stream' or 'Power line', but the stamp is a later addition to the work.

see media
  • title: The Table
  • accession number: AR00098
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1952
  • measurements: 20.90 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
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.