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The Difficulty of Producing an Egg
© DACS 2015

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The Difficulty of Producing an Egg 1968

On Display Modern Two

  • Artist Rooms
In this drawing we see a network of bird, female and fish forms. Centred at the top of the composition is the large head of a swan, a bird which Beuys had been fascinated with since his childhood; a sculpture of a large golden swan sat on top of the tower of Schwanenburg castle (Swan Castle) in his home town of Cleves and was visible from his bedroom window when he was growing up. The title of this work and the combination of female and stork elements also recalls Beuys’s interest in the traumas associated with reproduction, pregnancy and birth, which are the subject of many of his drawings. The informal, linear style of this drawing is close to handwriting and allowed Beuys to capture his ideas with a raw immediacy. He said, “I put forms of language on paper… in order to stimulate thought.”


  • Acc. No. AL00199
  • Medium Pencil on paper
  • Size 25.40 x 26.00 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010