45 Facts About Anselm Kiefer


Anselm Kiefer was born on 8 March 1945 and is a German painter and sculptor.


Anselm Kiefer studied with Peter Dreher and Horst Antes at the end of the 1960s.


Anselm Kiefer's works incorporate materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac.


Anselm Kiefer's works are characterised by an unflinching willingness to confront his culture's dark past, and unrealised potential, in works that are often done on a large, confrontational scale well suited to the subjects.


The son of a German art teacher, Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen a few months before the end of World War II.


Anselm Kiefer's city having been heavily bombed, Kiefer grew up surrounded by the devastation of the war.


Anselm Kiefer studied at the University of Freiburg, studying pre-law and Romance languages.


In 1971 Anselm Kiefer moved to Hornbach and established a studio.


Anselm Kiefer remained in the Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis until 1992; his output during this first creative time is known as The German Years.


Anselm Kiefer left his first wife and children in Germany on his move to Barjac in 1992.


In 2017, Anselm Kiefer was ranked one of the richest 1,001 individuals and families in Germany by the monthly business publication Manager Magazin.


Anselm Kiefer began his career creating performances and documenting them in photographs titled Occupations and Heroische Sinnbilder.


Anselm Kiefer asked Germans to remember and to acknowledge the loss to their culture through the mad xenophobia of the Third Reich.


Anselm Kiefer is best known for his paintings, which have grown increasingly large in scale with additions of lead, broken glass, and dried flowers or plants.


Anselm Kiefer worked with glass, straw, wood and plant parts.


The use of these materials meant that his art works became temporary and fragile, as Anselm Kiefer himself was well aware; he wanted to showcase the materials in such a way that they were not disguised and could be represented in their natural form.


Anselm Kiefer returned to the area of his birthplace in 1971.


Anselm Kiefer went on extended journeys throughout Europe, the US and the Middle East; the latter two journeys further influenced his work.


Besides paintings, Anselm Kiefer created sculptures, watercolors, photographs, and woodcuts, using woodcuts in particular to create a repertoire of figures he could reuse repeatedly in all media over the next decades, lending his work its knotty thematic coherence.


Anselm Kiefer's work became more sculptural and involved not only national identity and collective memory, but occult symbolism, theology and mysticism.


Anselm Kiefer started to turn to sculpture, although lead still remains his preferred medium.


Anselm Kiefer asked American art critic Peter Schjeldahl to write a text for a catalog of the masturbation books.


Since 2002, Anselm Kiefer has worked with concrete, creating the towers destined for the Pirelli warehouses in Milan, the series of tributes to Velimir Khlebnikov, a return to the work of Paul Celan with a series of paintings featuring rune motifs, and other sculptures.


In 2003, he held his first solo show at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg Villa Katz, Anselm Kiefer: Am Anfang, dedicated to a series of new works, centered on the recurring themes of history and myths.


In 2009 Anselm Kiefer mounted two exhibitions at the White Cube gallery in London.


That same year, Anselm Kiefer inaugurated Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac's gallery space in Pantin, with an exhibition of monumental new works, Die Ungeborenen.


Anselm Kiefer continues to be represented by the gallery and participates in group and solo exhibitions at their various locations.


In 1988, Anselm Kiefer transformed a former brick factory in Hopfingen into an extensive artwork including numerous installations and sculptures.


Anselm Kiefer created an extensive system of glass buildings, archives, installations, storerooms for materials and paintings, subterranean chambers and corridors.


Anselm Kiefer spent the summer of 2019 living and working at Barjac.


In 1969, Anselm Kiefer had his first solo exhibition, at Galerie am Kaiserplatz in Karlsruhe.


Anselm Kiefer was featured in the 1997 Venice Biennale with a one-man show held at the Museo Correr, concentrating on paintings and books.


Comprehensive solo exhibitions of Anselm Kiefer's work have been organized by the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf ; Art Institute of Chicago ; Sezon Museum of Art in Tokyo ; Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin ; Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York ; Fondation Beyeler in Basel ; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth ; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC ; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.


In 2007 Anselm Kiefer was commissioned to create a huge site-specific installation of sculptures and paintings for the inaugural "Monumenta" at the Grand Palais, Paris.


In 2008, Anselm Kiefer installed Palmsonntag, a monumental palm tree and 36 steel-and-glass reliquary tablets in the auditorium-gym of the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles, an enormous Spanish Gothic edifice built in 1927.


In 2010 the piece was installed at the Art Gallery of Ontario museum in Toronto, where Anselm Kiefer created eight new panels specifically for the AGO's exhibition of this work.


Anselm Kiefer unveiled his first public art commission in the United States in May 2018, at Rockefeller Center.


Anselm Kiefer worked with the conviction that art could heal a traumatized nation and a vexed, divided world.


Anselm Kiefer created epic paintings on giant canvases that called up the history of German culture with the help of depictions of figures such as Richard Wagner or Goethe, thus continuing the historical tradition of painting as a medium of addressing the world.


In 2008, Anselm Kiefer was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, given for the first time to a visual artist.


Art historian Werner Spies said in his speech that Anselm Kiefer is a passionate reader who takes impulses from literature for his work.


In 2011 Anselm Kiefer was appointed to the chair of creativity in art at the College de France.


Anselm Kiefer acknowledges the issue, but says change is part of the process and that their essence will ultimately stay the same.


Anselm Kiefer is particularly fond of the oxidation of white on lead.


Anselm Kiefer liked that while being polished it takes on energy and becomes warm to the touch.