A selection from the portfolio of prints by Joseph Beuys (1921 - 1986)

Aus dem Leben der Bienen

Raumecke, Filz, Fett

Tote Hirsche

Biographical note


Joseph Beuys was born in 1921 in Krefeld, Germany and died in Düsseldorf in 1986.

A path-breaker in many contemporary artistic movements, his activities included sculpture, graphic arts, painting, action painting and art theory. His childhood and the 2nd World War marked his imagination. He was one of the most important artists of the second half of this century.

He served as a soldier (1941-45) then studied at the Academy in Düsseldorf (1947-52) under Ewald Mataré, among others. He became professor himself there from 1961-1972. Carried out performances of action art related to the Fluxus Movement (1963-74). Beuys ritualized movement sequences interspersed with autobiographical, mythical or historically charged themes or objects (Manresa 1966; Haupstrom-Fluxus, Eurasienstab, 1967). He participated in every Documenta exhibit from 1964-86 (in 1977, to cite one year, he exhibited 'Honey Pump at the Workplace'). His use of materials such as felt, copper, grease and wax emphasizes their innate energy and qualities, such as storage and flow, the effects of heat and cold, insulating and converting characteristics, form and chaos. He created drawings, plastic paintings, installations, multiples and scripts and graphic cycles. He held a 'wide definition of art', eliminating the borders between everyday life and the objet d'art. Thus he uses the term 'plastic' to refer even to people and their social organization. In 1973, Beuys founded the 'Free International Institute for Creativity and International Research', the FIU. Beuys influenced media advertising on politics and ecology. Today, 4000 of his works are located in the Van der Grinten Collection at Moyland Castle, another part on display at the Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, the 'Secret Block' (1945-76) in the Marx Collection in Berlin, 'The 7000 Oaks' (1982-87) are in Kassel, and 'Show Your Wound' (1976) in the Städtischen Galerie, Munich. 

(c) Evi Kliemand, 1998. all rights reserved. Reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

List of Works

The following editions have been completely published by Grafos Verlag AG. These prints were the result of a close collaboration between Joseph Beuys, Dr. Friedrich Herlt and Juan Barbara.
Dr. Herlt offered Beuys the opportunity to have the diverse wishes and requirements realized by Joan Barbara, an extremely gifted printer. The development took years, countless test prints testify to a well-considered development and dialectics with the work. The result is a coherent synthesis of Beuys' work with printing technology. Joan Barbara's technical competence puts the finishing touches to prints in its appearance and quality. The last prints (Schamanentrommel and Seiltänzerin) could not be signed after completion of the edition due to the artist's advanced illness.