Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer

  1. Daniel Arasse
  • ISBN 9780500291610
  • 23.10 x 17.20 cm
  • Paperback
  • 344pp
  • 409 Illustrations, 394 in colour
  • First published 2014
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Before the publication of this first major monograph on Anselm Kiefer, no one had attempted to analyze in depth the very essence of his art. Daniel Arasse takes as a starting point the 1980 Venice Biennale, a key moment in the artist’s career that marked the birth of both his international reputation and the controversy over the “Germanness” of his work.

Anselm Kiefer spread

Across six main chapters, the author delves into the central themes of Kiefer’s art and their evolution: Nordic and Germanic mythologies; Jewish mysticism; the cosmos; the legends of the ancient world; links between heaven and earth, gods and men; transmutation; and the role of the human body. All of these lie at the heart of his rigorous and deeply interesting thought.

Interspersed with the main discussion are five sub-chapters that shed new light on the fabric of Kiefer’s work by examining his favorite motifs and the ways they have mutated through time and thematic shifts. By examining his influences, style and recurring motifs, Daniel Arasse illuminates Kiefer’s rich culture and his philosophical and artistic practice, while demonstrating a unity and continuity that transcend any linear concept of his development.


The major exhibition 'Anselm Kiefer' was at the Royal Academy of Arts, London from 27 September to 14 December 2014.


Daniel Arasse taught at the Sorbonne, directed the Institut Français in Florence from 1982 to 1989, and was Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, from 1993. Among his many books are Vermeer: Faith in Painting and works on Mark Rothko and Cindy Sherman.