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.
Inscription: Inscribed on bottom sheet (b) (in watercolor, lower center): Virginia Woolf; (in watercolor, L.R.): für Julia [for Julia]
private collection (until 1983; 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. 24.
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.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Anselm Kiefer," September 27–December 14, 2014, no. 16.
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. 58, no. 24, ill. p. 59 (color).