Joseph Beuys

2 Schafskopfe [2 Sheep's Heads] (1961-1975)

About this artwork

The title of this drawing translates as '2 Sheep's heads', which are represented by shapes torn in the dark-painted paper. It is a two-part work, with one part painted in oil paint and the other in oil paint and fat. Beuys often used fat as a substance in his 'actions' and sculptures, however he used it less frequently in his drawings due to the nature of the material. He viewed fat as an alchemical material, with multiple uses. Fat could be a source of nourishment and fuel, as well as representing warmth and the creative principle. Beuys made a multiple based on this work.

see media
  • title: 2 Schafskopfe [2 Sheep's Heads]
  • accession number: AR00647
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1961-1975
  • measurements: 27.90 x 21.60 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.