Anselm Kiefer / Der Kyffhäuser / c. 1981Anselm Kiefer
Der Kyffhäuser
c. 1981

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Creator Name: Kiefer, Anselm
Creator Nationality: European; Northern European; German
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1945
Biography: Anselm Kiefer German, 1945-One of the most significant and reclusive artists of the past 20 years, Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Bavaria, two months before the end of World War II. His enormous mixed-media canvases, as well as his smaller bookworks, are laden with cultural, political, mythic, and religious symbolism. These works are made in direct response to his Teutonic heritage and, in particular, Germany's war experience. Kiefer addresses questions regarding German identity in the postwarworld, a highly sensitive subject that has brought him both critical acclaim and adamant opposition. Kiefer studied law and French at the University of Freiburg in 1965 before turning to painting. He graduated in 1970 and began informal study at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf with Joseph Beuys, who encouraged him to paint despite dominance of conceptual art at the time and the declaration that painting was dead. Kiefer often spends years on a piece, working intermittently, and retains rigid control of the placement of his paintings after they leave his studio. Although Kiefer's work has changed little throughout his career, his earlier imagery relied on figurative elements and his later paintings have become more abstract, often incorporatingarchitectural elements. He frequently begins with an enlarged photographic image, which he distorts by such techniques as scorching, staining, and burning. His materials include molten lead, tar, straw, and clay, metaphorical substances associated with theGerman land and its mythologies. The transformative process also recalls alchemy, a subject that interested Beuys, who believed art had the power to evoke a change of state from physical to spiritual. Kiefer has had numerous international exhibitions andpublished monographs, and is represented in major American and European collections. In addition to one-person exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Israel, and England, the Philadelphia Museum of Art organized a retrospective of his work that toured the United States in 1987-88. In recent years, Kiefer has begun to make films that, rooted in the medium of photography, extend the physical and narrative qualities characteristic of all his work into the realms of motion and time. He livesin Barjac, France. A.W.
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Anselm Kiefer
Title: Der Kyffhäuser
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1979
Creation End Date: 1983
Creation Date: c. 1981
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: gelatin silver prints and gouache
Dimensions: Image: 52.1cm x 39cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1993.127
Credit Line: Gift of the Cleveland Society for Contemporary Art, Advisory Council, Women's Council, and staff of The Cleveland Musuem of Art in honor of Evan and Brenda Turner
Context: During the last 25 years, Anselm Kiefer has gained a reputation as one of his generation's most important artists. He has produced a remarkable body of work distinguished by formal invention, diverse subject matter, and often controversial content. This image depicts the cellar of Kiefer's studio, where he constructed a pool in which an artist's palette floats. To suggest a complex, discontinuous interior, Kiefer painted abstract marks and arrows across two joined photographic prints. As a fantasy ofnationalist patriotism with disturbing echoes of the Third Reich, the title Der Kyffhäuser refers to the mountain where some Germans believed the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I slept, waiting to be awakened to reestablish the lost glory of the past. In reinterpreting the myth, Kiefer substituted an artist's palette for the emperor's sword and an artist's studio for the hidden mountain cave.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1993.127
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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