Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Astral Snake

Artist:
Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)
Date:
1980–85
Medium:
Torn and pasted photographs, shellac, and watercolor on photograph
Dimensions:
23 3/8 x 29 1/8 in. (59.4 x 74 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.14.28
Not on view
By 1980, Kiefer’s drawings, like his paintings, begin to manifest a complex, layered approach to materials and may include lead, shellac, even sand, over torn and pasted photographs. Their subjects are drawn from the artist’s broad-ranging interests in history, philosophy, poetry, and mythology. Kiefer associates his Astral Snake, the encircling serpent (a carefully torn photograph of a bamboo plant) that hovers against a starry night sky, with the Gnostic image of the Ouroboros, a snake biting its own tail. This serpentine image, which occurs in many cultures, connotes for the artist a circular, rather than linear, concept of time.
Cologne. Galerie Paul Maenz. "Anselm Kiefer," March 11–April 19, 1986, no. 4.

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. 45.

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.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934–2001," July 19–November 27, 2011, no catalogue.

Paul Maenz and Gerd de Vries. Anselm Kiefer. Exh. cat.Cologne, 1986.

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. 105, no. 45, ill. p. 106 (color).



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