Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1957)

About this artwork

This drawing is an example of Beuys's use of unusual materials for his drawings, being made with stone dust and white clay. It was made while Beuys was living on the farm owned by the van der Grinten brothers, following a nervous breakdown brought on by the delayed after-effects of the war. His materials were most likely taken from the farm and surrounding area. Beuys lived with Hans and Franz Joseph van der Grinten from 1957 to 1960, and they became the first collectors of his work. The subject of the drawing is unclear, but may be a coal scuttle or similar household item.

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  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00638
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1957
  • measurements: 24.10 x 31.6 cm (framed: 42.50 x 56.80 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.