Joseph Beuys

Hexen Feuer Speiend [Witches Spitting Fire]

About this artwork

Witches are often seen in German art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The interest in witches at that time was linked to the larger issue of society's attempt to understand women's bodies and their fertility, a subject which still concerns the artist in this 1959 drawing. Although these images from traditional German art would have been known to Beuys, his presentation of women as witches also refers to his own particular fascination with ancient and mysterious characters. Shown against a background suggestive of flames, Beuys's depiction of these two figures as fearsome and powerful shows his respect for a world where primitive, spiritual powers take precedent.

Updated before 2020

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  • artist:
    Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • title:
    Hexen Feuer Speiend [Witches Spitting Fire]
  • date created:
    1959
  • materials:
    Graphite and oil paint on paper
  • measurements:
    20.70 x 29.70 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    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
  • accession number:
    AR00109
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys