Feb 11, 2008

Der Kyffhäuser

Der Kyffhäuser

c. 1981

Anselm Kiefer

(German, 1945-)

Gelatin silver prints and gouache

Image: 52.1 x 39 cm (20 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.)

Gift of the Cleveland Society for Contemporary Art, Advisory Council, Womens Council, and staff of The Cleveland Musuem of Art in honor of Evan and Brenda Turner 1993.127



During the last 40 years, Anselm Kiefer has gained a reputation as one of his generation's most important artists. He has produced a remarkable body of work distinguished by formal invention, diverse subject matter, and often controversial content. This image depicts the cellar of Kiefer's studio, where he constructed a pool in which an artist's palette floats. To suggest a complex, discontinuous interior, Kiefer painted abstract marks and arrows across two joined photographic prints. As a fantasy of nationalist patriotism with disturbing echoes of the Third Reich, the title Der Kyffhäuser refers to the mountain where some Germans believed the 12th-century Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I slept, waiting to be awakened to reestablish the lost glory of the past. In reinterpreting the myth, Kiefer substituted an artist's palette for the emperor's sword and an artist's studio for the hidden mountain cave.

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