About this artwork

Beuys often included the human figure in his drawings of the 1950s and early 1960s. However, this painting focuses solely on the hand, the most important tool of the artist. The title is ambiguous as it appears to present the hand as a symbol of defiance but it could also refer to the most basic way for humans to make their mark - the handprint. The hand on the left may be based around the dimensions of the artist's own, but the hand to the right has a more animalistic feel, with the long fingers like claws.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
    Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • title:
    Demonstration: Hand
  • date created:
    1961
  • materials:
    Collage and oil on paper and cardboard
  • measurements:
    22.00 x 22.00 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:
    AR00648
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys