Joseph Beuys

Weird Sister (1953 - 1962)

About this artwork

This painting has been made on a piece of acetate using two types of oil, including the 'Braunkreuz' oil Beuys often used. Literally translated as 'Brown cross', this was a household paint commonly used for walls and floors. It was frequently used by the artist from the late 1950s when he wished to paint with a neutral material with sculptural qualities. The female figures in Beuys's work are usually shown in active positions, while male figures are static. Here, the two figures are crouching or squatting, as if ready to spring into action. The style of both the figures and the background also reflects Beuys's association of women with fluidity and movement

see media
  • title: Weird Sister
  • accession number: AR00100
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1953 - 1962
  • measurements: 39.10 x 47.40 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.