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Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer

Early Works

Edited by Lena Fritsch


Publishing 26th Mar 2025
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  • First show in Oxford for Anselm Kiefer
  • Prime focus on early works
  • Features three new works not previously published
  • Extensive chronology of Anselm Kiefer
  • Contributions from a range of expert authors
Full Description

This book accompanies a major exhibition in the Ashmolean Museum on the early work of internationally acclaimed German artist Anselm Kiefer. It focuses on his paintings, drawings, photographs and artist books created between 1969 and 1982, in the private collections of the Hall Art Foundation. Anselm Kiefer: Early Works is the first institutional show and publication in the UK dedicated to Kiefer’s early practice. The book introduces themes, subjects and styles that have become signature to Kiefer’s work, while providing a more intimate and complementary context for his large-scale installations that he is best known for today. The early works are accompanied by three recent paintings from the artist’s own collections and White Cube, chosen by the artist himself.

Art historians, artists, curators and experts of Kiefer’s art from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Britain and the US have contributed 46 original texts on individual works, organized in a chronological structure. An illustrated chronology at the end of the book compiled by Stephanie Biron from the Hall Art Foundation provides an overview of the artist’s early practice and life, to contextualize the works.

The book begins with Kiefer’s iconic Occupations and Heroische Sinnbilder series, created in 1969 and 1970, which Kiefer views as his first serious works. Kiefer was among the first generation of German post-war artists to directly confront the country’s troubled past and identity. Full of complex references to German socio-political history but also to culture, literature and his personal life, Kiefer’s early works carry a unique iconography, linking classic ideas of great art with a distinctive understanding of concrete artistic materiality. The landscapes in his watercolors are historically charged; hand-written words on paintings are closely linked with poetry well known to most German viewers; motifs and symbols point at Nazi ideologies and a collective feeling of guilt.

About the Author

Lena Fritsch is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ashmolean, responsible for exhibitions, displays and acquisitions of international art. She teaches at the University of Oxford, V&A and SOAS, London. Previously, she was a curator at Tate Modern, London and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. She holds a PhD in art history from Bonn University and also studied at Keio University, Tokyo. Richard Calvocoressi is an art historian and curator. He was an Assistant Keeper at the Tate Gallery, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and Director of the Henry Moore Foundation. His publications include Anselm Kiefer: Morgenthau Plan (2013), Bacon Moore: Flesh and Bone (2013, with Martin Harrison), and Georg Baselitz (2021). Harriet Häußler holds a PhD in art history from the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany. Since 2009, she has been teaching and publishing widely about the art market and art of the 20th and 21st centuries. She has authored numerous books and articles, including her thesis Anselm Kiefer: Die Himmelspaläste (2004). Antonia Hoerschelmann studied art history, archaeology and philosophy at the University of Vienna. Since 1992, she has been the Curator of Modern and Contemporary art at the Albertina Museum in Vienna. In 2016, she curated the first major exhibition dedicated to Anselm Kiefer’s woodblock prints, at Albertina. Liz Rideal is an artist and writer living in London. Professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, her publications include books on self-portraiture, portraiture and a best-seller, How to Read Paintings (2014). Rideal has exhibited widely in museums and galleries in Europe and America with three solo shows in New York. Lisa Saltzman is a professor of History of Art and the inaugural Emily Rauh Pulitzer ’55 Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art at Bryn Mawr College. She is a specialist in post-war and contemporary art. Educated at Princeton and Harvard, she has been awarded fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, Clark Art Institute and Guggenheim Foundation. Sabine Schütz, PhD is an art historian and art critic (AICA), focusing on modern and contemporary art. She has done curatorial work at various German museums and taught art theory and art history at the University of Cologne. An van Camp is the Christopher Brown Curator of Northern European Art at the Ashmolean. Most recently, she curated Bruegel to Rubens: Great Flemish Drawings (Oxford, 2024) and co-curated Young Rembrandt (Leiden/Oxford, 2019–20). She is a member of the Editorial Board of Print Quarterly and Master Drawings. Christian Weikop is Professor of Modern and Contemporary German Art at the University of Edinburgh. He has published extensively on 20th-century German art, including publications on Anselm Kiefer for international art institutions. He works closely with the Atelier Anselm Kiefer in Paris.

Ashmolean Museum
Publish date
26th Mar 2025
Paperback / softback
USA & Canada
8.66 in x 11.02 in
224 Pages
150 color, 4 b&w
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