About the artist

    1921: Born in Krefeld, Germany
    1986: Died of a heart attack in Düsseldorf

    Joseph Beuys was a German Fluxus, Happening and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.


    His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his "extended definition of art" and the idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk*, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics. 


    His career was characterized by passionate, even acrimonious public debate, but he is now regarded as one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century.


    *Gesamtkunstwerk can be translated as total work of art, ideal work of art, universal artwork, synthesis of the arts, comprehensive artwork, all-embracing art form or total artwork. It is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so. The term is a German word which has come to be accepted in English as a term in aesthetics.