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Untitled (work of art)

Artwork Info

Anselm Kiefer
Artist Details
Mixed Media
(panel with boulders) 130 1/4 x 73 in.
(330.7 x 185.4 cm)
(panel with ladder) 130 5/8 x 72 5/8 in.
(331.7 x 184.9 cm)
(panel with funnel) 130 1/4 x 72 7/8 in.
(330.7 x 185.0 cm)


Anselm Kiefer’s Untitled (1986) presents a vast, cosmic mystery, the full interpretation of which is elusive. The drama is played out against a scarred landscape, reminiscent perhaps of the postwar Germany of Anselm Kiefer’s youth. Dominating the middle panel is a great serpent coiled at the foot of a ladder made of lead. In Genesis the patriarch Jacob dreams of angels climbing up and down a ladder from heaven. Could the artist mean the rickety ladder in this painting to be a symbolic link between the worldly and the spiritual realms? And is the serpent, that most earthbound of creatures, a reference to evil? Around the central image swirls a vortex of charred paint and splattered lead. Lead rains down, is “funneled” to the left, and rematerializes as a cluster of stones. Like a sorcerer or prophet, Kiefer conjures a vision of endless creation and destruction.


Tags: abstract expressionism, texture, World War II, history


  • Anslem Kiefer Untitled

    Untitled by Anselm Kiefer

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Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina, W. R. Valentiner, and various donors, by exchange