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Sale: 330 / Modern Art / Post-War, Dec. 05. 2007  
Lot: 436  
Beuys, Joseph 
Pflockkreuz, 1952. 
Result (incl. 20% surcharge): 150,000 EUR / 196,500 $
Estimate: 80,000 EUR / 104,800 $  
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Joseph Beuys


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Joseph Beuys - Pflockkreuz  
print

Pflockkreuz. 1952.
Bronze relief.
33,5 x 25 cm ( 13,1 x 9,8 in).
Only one additional copy is known, which is located at the collection Hans van der Grinten, Cologne.

PROVENIENZ: Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia (acquired directly from the artist in 1965).

Ausstellung: Sammlung Helmut Klinker. Malerei, Bildhauerei, Objekte und Graphik, Museum Bochum, 12.05.-01.07.1984, cat. p. 59 (ill., there recorded wrongly with the date 1958).

LITERATUR: Kreuzzeichen. Religiöse Grundlagen im Werk von Joseph Beuys, Suermont-Ludwig-Museum und Museumsverein Aachen/Stadtmuseum Ratingen, 1985/86, cat.no. 16, ill. 18, p. 26 (a different copy).
Beuys vor Beuys. Frühe Arbeiten aus der Sammlung van der Grinten. Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Ölstudien, Collagen, exhibition cat. Bonn/Berlin/Leipzig, Cologne 1987, ill. p. 230 (a different copy).

Born in Krefeld in 1921, Joseph Beuys was preoccupied with sculpture and drawing even as a schoolboy. Instead of studying medicine as planned, he volunteered for military service in 1941. A Stuka pilot, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea in 1944. After a convalescence he would later stylise into a myth, maintaining he had been nursed with fat and felt by the local Crimean Tatars, Beuys was again sent to the front and was interned by the British as a prisoner of war in 1945. On his return to Germany, he studied sculpture from 1947 until 1951 under Josef Enseling and Ewald Mataré at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. From 1952 Beuys was in Mataré’s master class but it was not long before he was freelancing from a studio of his own in Düsseldorf.

In the early 1950s, Beuys produced his first major sculpture that at first, however, revealed the influence of Mataré, his teacher, although he began to distance himself from it. 'The cross as commemoration, as a primeval sign of magic and consecration, as an indication of one’s personal preoccupation with the tenets of Christianity and not least as a pivotal frame of reference and interface extending far into profane emblematic fields, has been accorded prominent status in the work of Joseph Beuys. [...] In it, the cross is viewed in very abstract contexts, for instance as the point at which the system of co-ordinates representing antiquity and Christianity as well as Christianity and materialism intersect as a sign for the spiritual and intellectual discussion between two world-views' (Götz Adriani/Winfried Konnertz/Karin Thomas, Joseph Beuys. Leben und Werk, Cologne 1986, p. 55).

In 1961 Beuys was appointed professor of monumental sculpture at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. His first public Fluxus Action took place in 1963. Beuys’s œuvre comprises a broad range of art media. His works are strongly influenced by theosophical doctrine, mythology and religion. Beuys was represented several times with work at documenta in Kassel and the Venice Biennale. By 1979/80 the Guggenheim Museum in New York had mounted a Beuys retrospective. Joseph Beuys died in Düsseldorf in January 1986. [NB]

Zustand: In good condition. With minor traces of oxidation and isolated barely noticeable rubbing.

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