Anselm Kiefer


1945, Donaueschingen, Germany


Anselm Kiefer grew up in postwar West Germany amid the rubble of World War II. His newly divided country was in a state of identity crisis, lacking foundational myths or symbols untainted by the Nazis' pathological nationalism. Kiefer initially studied law to learn about codes of human behavior, fully intending to become an artist. By the 1970s, he began to develop his best-known works: massive, heavily encrusted paintings of shattered landscapes devoid of people. His art draws upon a range of traditions —including ancient Egyptian mythology, biblical stories, Jewish mysticism, and modern astronomy — in the attempt to construct a new symbolic system with broad human relevance. Kiefer is currently active in the south of France, where he has lived since 1993.

Works in the Collection

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.