Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1964)

About this artwork

Sitting among the scientific and mathematical notations and facing each other as if in conversation, we see the shapes of two hares, painted in gold. For Beuys, gold was associated with alchemy and myth. The hare is an animal which also carries mythological associations. It is sacred to the Germanic spring goddess Ase and has been connected with the resurrection by Christians since medieval times. Beuys associated the animal with birth, the earth and with women. He was so fascinated with the hare that he once owned a Bentley which had a hare as an ornament on the bonnet.

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  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00662
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1964
  • measurements: 29.50 x 20.80 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.