Joseph Beuys
Two Red Fish 1954

Artwork details

Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Two Red Fish
2 rote Fische
Date 1954
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 399 x 466 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

This painting echoes the artist's sculptural work of the same period. It was made while Beuys was creating a series of reliefs of animals, including different fish and sea creatures, from slate. The use of colour in Beuys's work is always significant as he used it like a substance or material, meaning that colour became particularly important and representative. The bright red suggests blood, and, in turn, life. The symbol of the fish has also been used to represent life by several different religious groups. Beuys once expressed the opinion that fish represent continuity, as, unlike man, they cannot escape their fixed point in evolution.

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