Joseph Beuys

Actresses

1958

Original title
Aktricen
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 207 x 290 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
Reference
AR00105

Online caption

Beuys's use of the term 'actresses' in his drawings of women makes reference to the idea of performance, in the same way as the artist created the persona of a shaman for himself. Indeed, in some of his performances ('actions') Beuys assumed the role of the female principle. This drawing is dominated by three upright female figures who stride confidently across the image, with the body of a naked woman, drawn in pencil, forming a backdrop. Although there are four figures on the page, each one is isolated from the others and not individualised in any way – a typical feature of Beuys's depictions of women in the 1950s.

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