© DACS 2008

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Untitled 1965
  • Artist Rooms
The vivid colour of this work suggests blood. Although Beuys sometimes painted with hare's blood, he used red in general to represent life and vitality. Colour was used sparingly by Beuys, as he often favoured the matt brown of Braunkreuz oil paint for his drawings and paintings. As a result, when he does use colour, it is extremely striking and significant. While this neat rectangle of colour may look like a piece of abstract art, this was not one of the artist's primary intentions, as Beuys's wider artistic goal was for the integration of art and reality.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


A medium invented, and first used, by the German artist Joseph Beuys in the late 1950s. It literally translates as ‘brown cross’. Composed of a mixture of paint and blood, it evokes images of rust, dirt, excrement and blood. As a term it has associations with Christianity, Nazism, National Socialism, war and the occult. By varying the qualities of the component parts, Beuys could experiment with the colour, density and texture of this unusual material.

Abstract art, Braunkreuz


  • Acc. No. AR00669
  • Medium Paper on paper
  • Size 41.70 x 29.60 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008