This work belongs to a series of images that Kiefer created by juxtaposing the dark fossilized forms of sunflowers with images of a naked man. For Kiefer, dead sunflowers with their heads packed with seeds are potent symbols of death and rebirth. Here, they are joined by a figure who resembles the artist but may be Robert Fludd, a sixteenth-century English occultist who believed that every plant in the world had its own equivalent star in the firmament. In this dramatic woodcut presentation, with its attendant nationalistic connotations, Kiefer suggests a link between the individual and the cosmos.
the artist, France (from 1996); Mr. and Mrs. Anthony d'Offay, London (until 1998; their gift 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, not in catalogue.
Thomas McEvilley. Anselm Kiefer : I Hold all Indias in My Hand. Exh. cat., Anthony d'Offay Gallery. London, 1996.
Nan Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 28, fig. 7.
Christian Weikop inAnselm Kiefer. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 2014, p. 38, fig. 16 (color).