Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Yggdrasil

Artist:
Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)
Date:
ca. 1980
Medium:
Gouache and acrylic on photograph
Dimensions:
32 1/2 x 23 1/8 in. (82.6 x 58.7 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.14.36
Rights and Reproduction:
© Anselm Kiefer
Not on view
In one of the Old Norse Eddic poems, the Ballad of Gimnir (or Odin, chief of the gods, who narrates), the structure of the universe is described as a vast evergreen ash tree, Yggdrasil. Posing as the tree here is Kiefer himself in a self-portrait photograph taken in 1969, in which he wears a crocheted dress and holds a branch (it has been pointed out that die Kiefer in German is a type of pine tree). He has painted in the stump of the tree on which he stands and adds a serpent-like dragon, Nidhöggs, who gnaws at its roots. At left the world itself is represented by a rough caricature of a snow globe in which pines surround a little house, a quaint scene that brings to mind scenes of the Black Forest where the artist was raised.
Inscription: Titled (upper left): Yggdrasil; inscribed (center left): ODIN/ 4 Hirsche [4 deer]/ 1 Adler [1 eagle]/ 1 Pferd [1 horse]/ 1 Eichhörnchen [1 squirrel]/ 1 Drache [1 dragon]; inscribed (lower left in gouache): Nidhöggs; inscribed (diagonally lower right): WELT - Esche [world ash]
private collection (sold to d'Offay); [Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, until 1995; sold to MMA]

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. 42.

New York. Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery at the Metropolitan Opera. "From the Met to the Met: Anselm Kiefer and Wagner's Ring," February 17–May 9, 2009, not in brochure.

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, pp. 96, 98, 112, no. 42, ill. p. 97 (color).



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