Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Vistula

Artist:
Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)
Date:
1977–78
Medium:
Acrylic, graphite, and shellac on paper
Dimensions:
23 1/4 x 25 3/4in. (59.1 x 65.4cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.14.23
Not on view
In a number of works from the late 1970s, Kiefer references the Vistula, Poland's longest river, which has figured in numerous territorial disputes between Poland and its neighbors to the east and west-Russia and Germany-over the past two centuries. The works' most obvious inference is perhaps Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939, when a poorly equipped and vastly outnumbered cavalry rode out to meet the oncoming German tanks. Inscribed across the bottom of one drawing is Weichsel, Weichsel, weiße Weichsel (Vistula, Vistula, white Vistula), lyrics to a song popular during the Third Reich. Another drawing, Ride to the Vistula, shares its title with a 1941 book by the Silesian author Alphons Hayduk, a historian of that region and member of the Nazi party (the book was banned in West Germany after the war). In all of Kiefer's Vistula-themed works, horses represent Poland-its vulnerability and perhaps its valiance.
Inscription: Titled (along bottom edge): Die Weichsel
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 15, 1998–March 21, 1999, no. 28.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Broken Flowers and Grass: Nature and Landscape in the Drawings of Anselm Kiefer," March 24–August 2, 2009, no catalogue.

Nan Rosenthal in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1994–1995." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 53 (Autumn 1995), p. 68.

Nan Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 67, no. 28, ill. p. 68 (color).



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