Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1965)

About this artwork

The vivid colour of this work suggests blood. Although Beuys sometimes painted with hare's blood, he used red in general to represent life and vitality. Colour was used sparingly by Beuys, as he often favoured the matt brown of Braunkreuz oil paint for his drawings and paintings. As a result, when he does use colour, it is extremely striking and significant. While this neat rectangle of colour may look like a piece of abstract art, this was not one of the artist's primary intentions, as Beuys's wider artistic goal was for the integration of art and reality.

see media
  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00669
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1965
  • measurements: 41.70 x 29.60 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.