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Kiefer, Anselm

Kiefer, Anselm kē´fər [key], 1945–, German painter. One of the major figures of neoexpressionism, he studied (1970) with Joseph Beuys, who heavily influenced his work. His large paintings of the 1970s and early 80s, 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, the use of straw, metal, pottery shards, glass, and other unusual materials, and often the addition of photographs and three-dimensional elements. Later paintings treat mythological, classical, and biblical subject matter, include dioramas of forests with single figures and actual trees, 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.

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