Joseph Beuys

Untitled (Frauendarstellung) (1958)

About this artwork

The translation of the bracketed part of the title of this work tells us that it is a 'Representation of a Woman'. The woman is shown as a totemic figure, drawn with broad, confident brushstrokes, her curves contrasting with the geometric shapes of the background. Superimposed on the torso of the figure is a vessel shape. The equation of woman with vessel is found in many of Beuys's works of the 1950s, and is a relatively common one amongst male artists, influenced by Freudian theory. As elsewhere in Beuys's work, the female figure is not individualised.

see media
  • title: Untitled (Frauendarstellung)
  • accession number: AR00106
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1958
  • measurements: 42.80 x 30.10 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.