Joseph Beuys

Demonstration: Hand

1961

Artist
Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Medium
Collage and oil on paper and cardboard
Dimensions
Support: 220 x 220 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
AR00648

Not on display

Online caption

Beuys often included the human figure in his drawings of the 1950s and early 1960s. However, this painting focuses solely on the hand, the most important tool of the artist. The title is ambiguous as it appears to present the hand as a symbol of defiance but it could also refer to the most basic way for humans to make their mark - the handprint. The hand on the left may be based around the dimensions of the artist's own, but the hand to the right has a more animalistic feel, with the long fingers like claws.

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