Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1962)

About this artwork

Beuys's famous Braunkreuz oil paint is used for this drawing. Depicting two neat identical shapes, the top shape has an extra fringe of brushstrokes around it to blur the edges. These brushstrokes recall smears of earth or dirt, recalling the fact that Braunkreuz was favoured by Beuys because it reminded the artist of the brown oil paint used to paint the walls and floors of rural houses. With its distinctive matt, dry texture, it is closely connected with nature and the earth – the very opposite of what is represented by the carefully painted geometric shapes.

see media
  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00653
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1962
  • measurements: 38.80 x 27.90 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.