Beginning today, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is presenting works by Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) in a special two-year installation. This is the first major exhibition devoted to the German artist in Canada. Best known for his sculpture and performance art, Joseph Beuys was among the most significant artists to emerge from postwar Germany. Spread over two galleries, this exhibition presents over 20 of his sculptures, along with an impressive selection of his works on paper.
“Almost thirty years since his death, Joseph Beuys remains one of the most influential and relevant artists in recent art history. Beuys visited Canada twice and had always hoped for an exhibition here. Although it is posthumous, we are delighted that, finally, we can present such a representative group of his exceptional works in Canada,” said NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer.
The exhibition includes such seminal works as Torso (1949/51), Pt Co Fe (1948–72), and Hasengrab (1964/79), drawing from two important private collections—including that of Céline and Heiner Bastian, of Berlin. These sculptures span four decades of the artist’s practice: beginning with early work influenced by the German sculptors Wilhelm Lehmbruck and Ewald Mataré, through sculpture of the 1970s and 80s, achieving an incomparable formal and material vocabulary.
Beuys’ first trip to North America was to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, in 1970. He returned again to the school to give an artist talk in May 1976, accompanied by his friend and writer Heiner Bastian for the weekend, during which he produced a blackboard drawing. The drawing was later donated by Beuys to the College and subsequently purchased by the Art Gallery of Ontario, thus establishing the Joseph Beuys Memorial Scholarship at NSCAD.
About Céline and Heiner Bastian
Long associated with Joseph Beuys, Heiner Bastian served as the artist’s dealer, and since his death in 1986 has written extensively on the artist and organized a number of exhibitions of Beuys’ work. Sculptures by Beuys from their collection have previously been on long-term loan to the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum for Contemporary art, Berlin and more recently at Galerie Bastian, Berlin. Housed in a David Chipperfield building on Am Kupfergraben, since 2007 Galerie Bastian has presented exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, including that of Dan Flavin, Andy Warhol, Damian Hirst, Anselm Kiefer and Cy Twombly. For more information, visit galeriebastian.com.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @gallerydotca.
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