Man Lying with Branch, Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945), Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper

Man Lying with Branch

Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper
9 3/8 x 10 7/8 in. (23.8 x 27.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, in memory of her father, Joseph H. Hazen, 2000
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Anselm Kiefer
Not on view
Kiefer was inspired to produce this watercolor by historical depictions of trees emerging from human forms, especially an illustration from the fourteenth-century Ashburn Manuscript housed in the Laurentian Library in Florence. This medieval image, which is concerned with rebirth through death, is one of the sources of Kiefer’s interest in alchemy. The watercolor presents a naked man lying on the ground and holding a lifeless branch that emerges from his bloody abdomen. Made on the occasion of Kiefer’s marriage, the drawing is also dedicated to his new wife; placed below the man’s body, the dedication "Anselm for Julia" furthers the sense of transformation involved in life’s passage.
Inscription: Inscribed (in graphite pencil, lower center): anselm für Julia
private collection (1971–83; sold to d'Offay); [Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1983–95; sold to Polsky); Cynthia Hazen Polsky, New York (1995–2000; on loan to MMA 1995–2000; her gift to MMA)

London. Anthony d'Offay Gallery. "Anselm Kiefer: Watercolours, 1970–1982," May 24–July 9, 1983, no. 6 (as "Liegender Mann mit Zweig [Reclining man with a branch]").

Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. "Anselm Kiefer," March 24–May 5, 1984, no. 67 (as "Reclining man with branch").

ARC/Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "Anselm Kiefer," May 11–June 21, 1984, no. 67.

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. "Anselm Kiefer," July 31–September 30, 1984, no. 67.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Anselm Kiefer," December 5, 1987–January 31, 1988, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 4; as "Reclining Man with Branch," lent by a private collection).

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Anselm Kiefer," March 6–May 1, 1988, unnumbered cat.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. "Anselm Kiefer," June 14–September 11, 1988, unnumbered cat.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Anselm Kiefer," October 17, 1988–January 3, 1989, unnumbered cat.

Sezon Museum of Modern Art. "Anselm Kiefer–Melancholia," June 3–July 19, 1993, no. W–4 (as "Liegender Mann mit Zweig").

National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. "Anselm Kiefer–Melancholia," August 3–September 5, 1993, no. W–4.

Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. "Anselm Kiefer–Melancholia," September 18–October 24, 1993, no. W–4.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: 1993–1995," July 28–September 24, 1995, no catalogue (promised gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky).

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. 6.

Westport Art Center. "The Endurance of Art," September 20–November 8, 2002.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. "Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth," September 25, 2005–January 8, 2006, unnumbered cat. (p. 55).

Washington, D. C. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. "Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth," June 18–September 10, 2006, unnumbered cat.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth," October 5, 2006–January 14, 2007, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Made in Germany," May 22–October 14, 2007, no catalogue.

Duisburg. Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst. "Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer: Zeichnungen, Gouachen, Bücher," June 29–September 30, 2012, unnumbered cat. (p. 178; as "Liegender Mann mit Zweig").

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Anselm Kiefer," September 27–December 14, 2014, no. 24.

Anne Seymour. Anselm Kiefer: Watercolours 1970–1982. Exh. cat., Anthony d'Offay Gallery. London, 1983, unpaginated, no. 6, ill. (color).

Jürgen Harten in Anselm Kiefer. Exh. cat., Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Dusseldorf, 1984, pp. 76, 174, no. 67, fig. 46a.

Mark Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago and Philadelphia, 1987, pp. 18, 22, colorpl. 4.

Mark Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer–Melancholia. Exh. cat., Sezon Bijutsukan. Tokyo, 1993, pp. 86–87, 225, no. W–4, ill. (color).

Donald Kuspit. "Mourning and Melancholia in German Neo–Expressionism: The Representation of German Subjectivity." Intertextuality: German Literature and Visual Art from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century. Ed. Ingeborg Hoesterey and Ulrich Weisstein. Columbia, S.C., 1993, p. 88, calls it "Reclining Man with Branch".

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. 26, 28, 96, no. 6, ill. p. 27 (color).

Michael Auping. Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth. Exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Fort Worth, 2005, ill. p. 55 (color).

Christian Weikop in Anselm Kiefer. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 2014, pp. 38, 225, no. 24, ill. p. 97 (color).

Richard Davey in Anselm Kiefer. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 2014, p. 54.

Daniel Arasse. Anselm Kiefer. 2nd ed. [1st ed., 2010]. London, 2014, p. 188, ill. (color), calls it "Reclining Man with Branch".

Léa Salvador and Eva König in Anselm Kiefer. Ed. Jean-Michel Bouhours. Exh. cat., Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Galerie I. Paris, 2015, ill. p. 238 (color).