Joseph Beuys

Yellow on Centre (1984)

About this artwork

Although Beuys did not create art in a deliberately abstract style, this work is reminiscent of German artist Josef Albers's series of works 'Homage to the Square', as well as of the colourful abstracts of Beuys's favourite pupil, Blinky Palermo. The use of the square here focuses attention on the simplicity of the shape and the colour, made all the more striking by the neutral cardboard background. Beuys viewed colour as a 'material', using it deliberately and sparingly. Yellow is a colour which suggests warmth and sunshine. Another notable appearance of the colour in the artist's work can be found in the multiple 'Capri Battery' (1985), where the yellow suggests the sunshine of the Italian island where Beuys lived while recovering from a lung condition.

see media
  • title: Yellow on Centre
  • accession number: AR00692
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art One(In Storage)
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1984
  • measurements: 37.00 x 27.40 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.