Virginia Woolf

Anselm Kiefer German

Not on view

This two-part work pays homage to the English writer Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), whose novels Kiefer and his wife, Julia (who probably served as the model for the dreaming head above), admired. In the lower sheet, fire and water are combined, as they are at the end of Wagner's monumental Ring Cycle—here, in the form of a tiny ship aflame at sea. Rapture and watery death—references, perhaps, to Woolf's seaside novel To the Lighthouse (1927) or her suicide by drowning or perhaps the German army's failed attempt to cross the English Channel during "Operation Sea Lion" (1940)—are explored in this subtle, evocative pairing.

Virginia Woolf, Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945), Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper

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Upper image