Joseph Beuys

Felt Action for an Actress (1965)

About this artwork

In the dark grey oil paint of this work a small face can be seen, with the legs a short distance away shown extended towards the right edge of the page. Beuys has returned to the persona of the actress here, the role in which women are often depicted in his drawings. The woman is engulfed in oil paint, which represents the grey felt the artist used in his sculptures and 'actions'. Although it is a material which can insulate and absorb, felt also has a feminine aspect through its ability to mould to shapes and to provide protection.

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  • title: Felt Action for an Actress
  • accession number: AR00670
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1965
  • measurements: 21.00 x 29.80 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.