Joseph Beuys born 1921 [- 1986]
Inscribed '1950 | Beuys' on under-side of base
Bronze, 7 7/8 x 20 5/8 x 9 3/4 (19.8 x 52.2 x 24.7) including base
Purchased from the Galerie Alfred Schmela (Grant-in-Aid) 1972
Prov: With Galerie Alfred Schmela, Düsseldorf (purchased from the artist)
Repr: Untitled catalogue published by the Galerie Schmela (Düsseldorf 1971), No.11
Joseph Beuys told the compiler on 4 July 1974 that this sculpture was commissioned by Alfred Schmela and was cast from three different elements, all wooden: an old clamp, a stylised female torso (which he had carved himself) and a base plane. This arrangement was only put together for the casting. He worked in close collaboration with the caster in the casting workshop throughout the casting process and did the patination himself, deliberately making it stained and uneven. This cast is the third of an edition of six.
Asked whether he wanted this work to be symbolic of human suffering, he said that he did not have this idea directly in mind and that he was more interested in an effect of levitation and space. He added that he also made another sculpture using the same torso but this time sunk vertically into the top of a structure like a tower, consisting of a cylinder on a cubic base. The only cast made of this is now in the Hans and Franz Josef van der Grinten collection at Kranenburg. It is about the same size as 'Bed' and likewise dates from 1950.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.52, reproduced p.52