Let This Be a Lesson: Lecture 12

Anselm Kiefer, Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn), 2001. Oil, acrylic, and plaster on lead on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with the Katharine Ordway and Richard Brown Baker, B.A. 1935, Funds

History Painting after Two World Wars: Anselm Kiefer’s Die Ungeborenen

Friday, December 13, 2013, 1:30 pm

Kiefer’s moving work of 2001 reaches deep into myth and science to help make sense of recent history, particularly in Germany. Other 20th-century artists have tried to revive historical consciousness and to find a moral role for art. Could this be successful in today’s conditions?

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Lecture Video

John Walsh presents Let This Be a Lesson: Lecture 12.

Recommended Readings

Anselm Kiefer comes across clearly in the interviews by Michael Auping and Sean O’Hagan. He is well treated in Auping’s essay in Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth, now out of print. As background for 20th-century artists’ approaches to subject matter, history, and abstraction, the excerpts from the anthologies by Robert L. Herbert (out of print) and by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (in print) are invaluable.

To access subscription-only articles, or for assistance with any of the below materials, please visit the Nolen Center Library at the Yale University Art Gallery.

On the Artist

Auping, Michael, and Anselm Kiefer. Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth. Fort Worth, Tex.: Prestel Publishing, 2005. See, especially, the introduction by Michael Auping, 27–50; and the interview by Auping with Kiefer, 165–76.

O’Hagan, Sean. “Sean O’Hagan Meets German Artist Anselm Kiefer. The Guardian (April 26, 2008).
Access Online

Gilmour, John C. Fire on the Earth: Anselm Kiefer and the Postmodern World. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990: 3–15, 78–138.

The documentary film about Kiefer by Sophie Fiennes Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (2010, 105 mins.) is available on Netflix (DVD or streaming).

On Other Twentieth-Century Artists and Critics

Herbert, Robert L. Modern Artists on Art: Ten Unabridged Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Dover Publications, 1964: “Gleizes and Metzinger on Cubism,” 1–18; “Kandinsky, ‘Reminiscences,’” 19–44; “Mondrian, ‘Plastic and Pure Plastic Art,’” 114–30.

Harrison, Charles, and Paul Wood. Art in Theory 1900–1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1992: “Roger Fry (1866–1934), ‘An Essay in Aesthetics,’” 78–86; “Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) from ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art,’” 86–94; “Clive Bell (1881–1964), ‘The Aesthetic Hypothesis,’” 113–16; “Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) et al., ‘Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto,’” 149–52; “Robert Delaunay (1885–1941), ‘On the Construction of Reality in Pure Painting,’” 152–54; “Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918), ‘The Cubists,’” 178–79; “Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918), ‘On the Subject in Modern Painting,’ 179–81; “Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,’” 512–20; “Clement Greenberg (b. 1909) ‘Towards a Newer Laocoon,’” 554–60; “Mark Rothko (1903–1970), ‘The Romantics were Prompted … ,’” 563–64; “Clement Greenberg (b. 1909), ‘Modernist Painting,’” 754–760; and “Daniel Bell (b. 1919), from ‘Modernism and Capitalism,’” 993–98.

Note: For the benefit of the lecture audience, we are supplying a recommended reading list as well as links to useful online sources. Any author or publisher who believes that his or her rights have been violated should contact Rights and Reproductions at the Yale University Art Gallery at yuagrights@yale.edu.

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