This work derives from Kiefer’s staged photographs of 1969. In a provocation beyond the illicit subject matter, the artist chose the ironic title "Heroic Symbols" after a 1943 article published in the National Socialist Party propaganda journal Art of the German Reich, which promoted the importance of presenting the national heroism of the past to the citizens of Nazi Germany. Kiefer paired his self-portrait with another watercolor of a luminous blue sky stippled with watery red dots, which according to the artist represent gunshots. His lyrical, fluid handling of the medium is a further paradox with such disturbing and problematic subjects.
private collection (1969–83; sold in 1983 to d'Offay); [Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1983–95; 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. 2.
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. 14–16, 20, 101, no. 2, ill. pp. 18–19 (color).