Joseph Beuys

Weisse Frau in Gras (Fairy) [White Woman in the Grass (Fairy)] (1954)

About this artwork

In his drawings, Joseph Beuys often makes connections between humans, our environment and primitive rituals. By referring to the female figure in this drawing as a 'fairy', the artist makes reference to folklore. Beuys was greatly knowledgeable about German folk customs but he was equally interested in shamanism and the tribal magic of other cultures. His use of colour is always deliberate and significant, and in this drawing, he has suggested the woman's connection to nature by surrounding her with green grass. His use of watercolour as a medium also ties in with his depictions of women as fluid and connected with water.

see media
  • title: Weisse Frau in Gras (Fairy) [White Woman in the Grass (Fairy)]
  • accession number: AR00101
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1954
  • measurements: 19.30 x 12.20 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.