Joseph Beuys

Observation on the Cat


Not on display

Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Original title
Beobachtung fur Katze
Graphite on paper
Support: 316 × 241 mm
frame: 674 × 541 × 29 mm
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
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

Amongst the flurry of pencil lines in this drawing, we can make out parts of a cat – claws, head, ears, teeth and limbs appear, with a long striped body at the bottom corner. Beuys's approach to drawing has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci in its investigative manner. Like Leonardo, Beuys had the enquiring mind of a scientist and the same interest in understanding the natural world. This work shows the artist's exploration of the shape of his subject, building form by assembling shapes. It shows how Beuys used drawing as a way of exploring the world, as well as capturing his ideas.


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