Joseph Beuys

  • Gallery

    • Sculpture
    • Photography
    • Works on paper 1945 - 1953
    • Works on paper 1954 - 1956
    • Works on paper 1957 - 1958
    • Works on paper 1959 - 1961
    • Works on paper 1962 - 1964
    • Works on paper 1965 - 1967
    • Works on paper 1968 - 1976
    • Works on paper 1977 - 1985
Joseph Beuys


The German sculptor Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) is recognised as one of the most influential figures of the second half of the twentieth century. Artist, political and social activist (he was a founder of the Green Party), scientist and educator, Beuys’s philosophy proposed the healing power and social function of art, especially in the context of the period following World War Two but also as something in which all people can participate and benefit. His works are based on what he called ‘constellations of ideas’ and can incorporate any kind of material or object to represent these ideas according to their inherent properties or purposes.

From the 1950s onwards many of his works were made from or allude to a distinctive group of materials, in particular, felt, fat and copper for their insulating, conductive and protective, transmitting and transforming properties. Beuys produced a vast body of work that bridges art and science and includes what he called actions, lectures, drawing, print-making, sculpture and installation. His complex interlocking themes cover biology, archaeology, geology, anthropology, zoology, politics, mythology, history, religion, intuition, medicine, the sciences and communication, amongst others.

Beuys’s own image and life story is an essential part of his work and he appears as a shamanistic presence throughout his oeuvre. The group of drawings belonging to ARTIST ROOMS is one of the most important collections of Beuys' works in the world. The ARTIST ROOMS collection of sculpture brings together important subjects from the 1960s such as 'Fat Chair' with later works from the 1980s, culminating with the important 'Scala Napoletana' which dates from the period of Beuys’s final work, 'Palazzo Regale'. It was made in Naples, only a few months before his death, and relates to the same theme of the shaman’s death and his communication with the beyond.


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