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
Circe is a figure from Greek mythology, sometimes depicted as a witch or sorceress. She transformed her enemies into animals by giving them magic potions, a fact which reflects Beuys's interest in shamanism. This work, which is a collage of paper on board, also shows the artist's interest in the Irish writer James Joyce. Joyce's epic novel 'Ulysses', contains an episode in the second part called 'Circe', and from 1958 to 1961 Beuys wrote two new chapters for 'Ulysses'. Joyce is believed by some critics to be the addressee of the group of drawings Beuys assembled called 'The secret block for a secret person in Ireland'.