About this artwork
The brown used in this drawing is the 'Braunkreuz' (literally translated as 'Brown cross') oil paint Beuys used from the 1950s onwards. The effect of the paint reminded the artist of the walls and floors of houses in his native West Germany, and recalls earth and nature. Here, the matt paint looks as if it has been painted over something to hide it, with the deliberate triangular shape at the top of the page, and the way the paint clings closely to the edges of the strange shape or figure below.
- title: Untitled
- accession number: AR00643
- artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- materials: Graphite, oil paint and typescript on paper
- date created: 1959
- measurements: 21.00 x 29.70 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
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.