Joseph Beuys

For Felt Sculpture (1964)

About this artwork

This distinctive image of a rectangle with an angled shape at the bottom is seen in several of Beuys's drawings. Rather than simply being just an abstract shape, the image is intended to create a sense of warmth, as the viewer imagines the chunky pieces of felt. Fat has also been used to make this drawing, the other element Beuys liked to work with. Like felt, fat conjures up a sensation of insulation and warmth. Both materials also refer to the body, as felt is made by compressing fibres or hair.

see media
  • title: For Felt Sculpture
  • accession number: AR00116
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1964
  • measurements: oil and fat on paper: 25.70 x 37.70 mm support (lower centre): 26.00 x 37.80 mm (lower right): 25.00 x 37.80 mm (upper): 39.80 x 27.90 mm
  • 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.