Joseph Beuys
Actress 1956

Artwork details

Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Date 1956
Medium Crayon and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 252 x 200 mm
Acquisition ARTIST ROOMS
Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Not on display

Online caption

Joseph Beuys's drawings often show women as actresses or witches. This is not intended to be derogatory, but rather refers to women taking on a role and performing, much like the artist's own adoption of the guise of a shaman. The torn paper of this drawing suggests that it has been damaged, but Beuys would draw on anything that came to hand when he had an idea, which gives this work a sense of immediacy. The exclusion of the woman's head would also have been done deliberately. In concentrating on the body, Beuys has depicted a curvy figure, with touches of pink to suggest the warmth of the flesh.

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