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Joseph Beuys.
Flawless Pictures 1945-1984
until March 18, 2018


It was at documenta III in the summer of 1964 that Lothar Schirmer first saw drawings by Joseph Beuys. The following spring—he was just twenty years old and had initiated a correspondence with the artist—he visited Beuys, arguably the preeminent German artist of the twentieth century, in his studio in Düsseldorf. The set of drawings he purchased on that occasion became the foundation for a steadily growing collection of hand drawings and prints by Beuys; with the artist’s active support, he also added objects, sculptures, and environments.

Over the years, Schirmer, the head of a publishing house in Munich, acquired works by an exponentially rising number of international artists, building what is now one of the foremost collections of contemporary art in Europe. While keeping an open mind for new developments in visual art, Schirmer was unwavering in his interest in and passion for Joseph Beuys’s oeuvre, continually adding important pieces to his holdings. The exhibition of art by Joseph Beuys from the Lothar Schirmer Collection to be held at the Lenbachhaus in 2017 and 2018 will be the first extensive presentation of the artist’s works on paper.

Fig.: Joseph Beuys, Nächtliches Zypressenbild, 1945, Sammlung Lothar Schirmer, München, Photo: Lenbachhaus © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017.


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