Joseph Beuys

From the Life of the Bees


Not on display
Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Original title
: aus dem Leben der Bienen
Watercolour on paper
Support: 502 x 685 mm
frame: 732 x 922 x 38 mm
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

Online caption

Bees were among the animals in which Beuys was most interested and they appear in his work through his life. While at art school he produced a series of drawings called 'Queen Bees', but his interest may have begun after reading the philosopher Rudolf Steiner's 1923 lecture on bees in which Steiner compared the functioning of a beehive to human society. Beuys viewed bees as a symbol of socialism due to the way in which they live and work together; he was also fascinated by the production of honey. The scientific apparatus featured in this drawing reappears in other works by Beuys of the mid-to late 1950s.

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