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Joseph Heinrich Beuys (1921 - 1986)



October 19, 2004
London, United Kingdom

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signed and dated 1952 on the reverse

pencil and iron chloride on paper


19.5 by 13.6cm.

7 5/8 by 5 3/8 in.




Germano Celant, Beuys tracce in Italia, Naples 1978, p. 112, no. 108, illustrated


Galleria Lucio Amelio, Naples
Libero Grande, Naples
Thence by descent to the present owners


Conceptually the linkages between the drawings, the performances and the sculptures endured throughout Beuys' life. He developed philosophies about life, which became metaphorically linked with certain images, which re-appeared in his art time and again. For Beuys the hare represented a metaphor for the exploration of his earth. Beuys drew an affinity between the way that the hare moulds the earth both above and below ground as he delves into it and the processes of human thought and understanding. It became one of his most ever-present and important symbols when it was used in two of his most well-known performances, How to explain pictures to a dead hare (1965, see fig. 1) and Eurasia (1966). Beuys also felt that the hare was intrinsically related to the lower part of the body, having a particular affinity with women and with menstruation and the present work represents an early illustration of these thoughts. Using iron chloride, a chemical which is synonomous with energy, Beuys has here beautifully picked out a mutated being which appears to be half hare, half woman. Locked within the confines of the paper's edges, the powerful stance of the lower body transforms into a forlorn hare's head bowed down and deep in thought.

In each case, where he donates a split personality to a figure, it seems that the person is Beuys himself, or the 'Shaman' as he referred to himself. He takes on the personality, perception or habits of these creatures, thus each time sharpening our view of a mental, spiritual, moral or physical (often sexual) idea by comparison.


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Libero Grande, Naples

October 19, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom