Joseph Beuys

Negentrophy: Felt Sculpture (1977)

About this artwork

A series of interlocking, grey shapes sit against an expanse of brown paint in this work on paper. The title recalls Beuys’s fascination with the power of healing and rejuvenation; Beuys had a keen interest in the generation, storage or transfer of energy. It may be a sketch or study for a sculpture using felt, one of the most important materials in his work, which he explored for its protective, healing and oppressive qualities. The reddish brown connecting strips in this drawing could be a reference to Beuys’s fascination with copper, a material that can channel and transmit heat and energy.

see media
  • title: Negentrophy: Felt Sculpture
  • accession number: AL00198
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1977
  • measurements: 45.60 x 61.60 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © DACS 2016.
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.