Joseph Beuys

Sculptures (1954)

About this artwork

This is a two-part work on paper, whose title suggests it is either a depiction of sculptures or a plan for sculptures to be made. Beuys used his drawings as a way of setting out ideas before making sculptures, referring to them as a 'reservoir that I can get important impulses from'. The long shapes recall the solid, static symbols the artist used to represent masculinity. They are painted in iron chloride, a chemical the artist often combined with watercolour in his paintings, which has a distinctive orange-brown colour.

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  • title: Sculptures
  • accession number: AR00102
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1954
  • measurements: 24.60 x 34.70 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.