Anselm Kiefer

Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

Is Anselm Kiefer the most German of all German painters today? Or is it only the outer shell of his work, its subject matter, which circles obsessively around the links between painting and the patrimony of German culture, that makes him appear so? This most comprehensive survey of Kiefer’s work to date, running from the early ’70s to the present and traveling from Düsseldorf to Paris and Jerusalem, ended with recent paintings in which, judging by the titles at least, the artist has left the sphere of German myth, or has at least joined it with that of the Orient. For the most part, however, one is reminded of King Ludwig of Bavaria and of Richard Wagner, who showed something similar to Kiefer’s aims in their plans for a triumphant cultural revival. This dream of grandeur lies with an ever-growing weight of pathos on Kiefer’s work.

Kiefer’s development, though neither smooth nor easy, has

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