Joseph Beuys

Langhaus (Vitrine)

1953–62

Original title
Langhaus (Vitrine)
Medium
Wood, glass, felt, oil paint and paper
Dimensions
Displayed: 1830 x 1545 x 640 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
AR00087

Online caption

'Langhaus' can be variously translated as 'nave' such as one finds in a church, or 'longhouse', such as the dwelling house for one or several families found in early north European regions or, still today, in tribal communities in the Amazon region or the South Seas. The block of wood has a small piece of felt attached to the top, suggesting, according to Beuys's usual iconography, the idea of protection, a connotation strengthened by the length of felt also lying in the vitrine. The walking stick lying alongside the felt is a traditional Beuysian symbol for leadership and protection, much as a shepherd looks after his flock.