Joseph Beuys

Filter (1958)

About this artwork

A filter suggests the process of refinement and purification. This is connected to a change in material of the kind Beuys explored throughout his work. This drawing was made in the late 1950s when Beuys was living on the farm of the van der Grinten brothers near his home town of Cleves in West Germany. During this time he made hundreds of drawings which he referred to as 'reservoirs' of ideas. Many of the themes from his later work can be found in these pieces. Beuys used gauze filters alongside fat in his sculptures and 'actions' of the 1960s onwards.

see media
  • title: Filter
  • accession number: AR00640
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1958
  • measurements: 28.70 x 20.30 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.