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Kiefer, Anselm

Kiefer, Anselm (kēˈfər) [key], 1945–, German painter, one of the major figures of neoexpressionism, b. Donaueschingen. He studied (1970) with Joseph Beuys, who heavily influenced his work. His large paintings of the 1970s and early 1980s, with their strongly symbolic themes of a savage and contemptible Nazi past (e.g., Shulamite, 1983) and a sere German landscape (e.g., The Meistersinger, 1982), are characterized by broad drawing, scorched and bloody colors, use of unusual materials (straw, metal, pottery shards, glass, sand, etc.), and often the addition of photographs and three-dimensional elements. Later paintings treat mythological, classical, and biblical subject matter as well as Jewish mysticism. Kiefer is also known for his large environmental installations, often with historical themes; for three-dimensional works, often made of lead; and for photographs. Since 1993 he has lived in France. In 2007 he inaugurated Monumenta, an annual large one-artist show held at the Grand Palais in Paris; his recent recent paintings and monumental multimedia constructions were featured.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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