Joseph Beuys: Intuition!

Dimensions of the Early Work of Joseph Beuys, 1946–1961



ISBN: 9783958299009 Category:

Joseph Beuys


This book examines the crucial period between Joseph Beuys’ return to his hometown of Kleve after World War II at the age of 24 and his appointment as a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1961. During this “incubation” phase, key themes relevant to his future work emerged, which now structure this book: biography as material for artistic forming; Beuys and poetry/romanticism; natural sciences: physics, chemistry, botany, zoology and geography; philosophy/anthropology Steiner; evolution; economics, capitalism, labor, politics. The aim of this book, along with the 2021 exhibition of the same name at Museum Kurhaus Kleve for which it is the catalogue, is neither to venerate a local saint of Kleve nor to topple an artist from an earlier generation. Instead it highlights the influences, ideas and caesuras that saw Beuys develop from a “sensitive traditionalist” into a “visionary social sculptor.”

Additional information

Weight 1336 g
Dimensions 21.9 x 30.4 cm
Publisher name Steidl
Publication date 6 November 2022
Number of pages 256
Format Hardback
Contributors Foreword by Harald Kunde, Text by Anne-Marie Bonnet, Susanne Figner, Volker Harlan, Karlheinz Koinegg, Bettina Paust, Petra Richter, and Wolfgang Zumdick
Dimensions 21.9 x 30.4 cm
Weight 1336 g


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Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Joseph Beuys (1921-86) was a sculptor, draughtsman, action and installation artist, as well as a teacher, politician and activist. After serving as a soldier in World War II, experiences that would strongly shape his practice, he studied sculpture at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he was made professor in 1961. From the early 1960s Beuys dissolved the difference between his biography and art, and increasingly employed his persona and charisma in what he deemed art's ultimate purpose: to radically democratize society. He called for the adoption of his universalist conception of art as a creative, transformative force within politics, science, philosophy and economics. Now as then, Beuys exerts a palpable influence upon artistic and political discourse.