Anselm Kiefer

Thy Golden Hair Margarethe

1981

In 1945 Paul Celan composed a poem entitled ‘Death Fugue’ from the concentration camp where he was imprisoned. The poem contraposes two women: Shulamith, one of the camp’s Jewish workers, and Margarete, an Aryan mistress of the presiding Gestapo officer. In this sculptural painting Kiefer draws on Celan’s poem as a means to explore the complex relationships between German self-identity and world history. Here, the effects of war scar the landscape of Germany. Ash covers the flowers in the lower right corner while straw is set like jail-bars across the foreground. The canvas documents a process of transformation: straw disintegrates to ash when exposed to fire. Through this, the ghosts of Shulamith and Margarete are evoked: reduced only to their contrasting hair; made of the same element but set in opposition by the fires of history.

On view

Artist Anselm Kiefer
Original Title Dein goldenes Haar Margarethe
Date 1981
Medium Acrylic, emulsion, charcoal and straw on burlap
Dimensions 118 x 145 cm
Credit line Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, bequest of Hannelore B. Schulhof, 2012
Accession 2012.74
Collection Schulhof Collection
Type Painting

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On view


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