Joseph Beuys
Demonstration: Hand 1961

Artwork details

Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Demonstration: Hand
Date 1961
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
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.

About this artwork