Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1958)

About this artwork

This work was made in oil paint on architectural paper. The background of horizontal and vertical lines printed on the paper contrasts sharply with the artist's brushstrokes. The coldness of the printed lines jars against the richness and warmth of the oil paint. Just as with his later sculptural works, Beuys's drawings of the late 1950s were an exploration of form and material. As an artist, he was always interested in bringing together opposing elements in his work and exploring the properties of the materials he used.

see media
  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00642
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1958
  • measurements: 21.00 x 29.70 cm (framed: 38.70 x 40.60 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.