Joseph Beuys

Naturgeschichte [Natural History]

About this artwork

The title given to this object relates it to Max Ernst's 'Histoire Naturelle' (Natural History) portfolio, published in 1926. Ernst used the technique of frottage to create fantastical drawings based on rubbings taken from woodgrain. Beuys has gone directly to the source of Ernst's images by presenting a piece of wood which is beautifully textured and neatly cut into a square. This work shows that Ernst's interest in the potential of the natural world was shared by Beuys. The two German artists also share a 'rebirth' myth, as Ernst claimed to have 'died' at the start of the First World War and been resuscitated in 1918.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Naturgeschichte [Natural History]
  • date created:
    1964-1982
  • materials:
    Household paint, shellac and sand on board
  • measurements:
    33.30 x 36.60 x 3.50 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:
    AR00666
  • gallery:
  • glossary:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys