Katharina Fritsch
Kind mit Pudeln (Child with Poodles), 1995-1996

Four circles of 224 poodles, arranged in tight, densely packed rings, surround an infant poised on an eight-pointed gold star. The points of the star create eight radiating axes by which the poodles are aligned. The result is a stunning visual play of repetitive patterns in space.

Fritsch’s intention is to lodge an indelible visual image in the mind of the viewer, indissolubly fusing experience and memory. Although some viewers may find the poodles threatening, they also appear to be on alert watch, guarding over the child. And despite the ominous atmosphere, a strange undercurrent of humor is present in the quirky oddness of both the poodles and the baby.

Fritsch chose the poodle as a dog that is cute and beguiling but can also be aggressive and mean. Soon after completing the piece, she recalled that a poodle appears in the story of Faust, retold in a nineteenth-century novel by Johann Wolfgang Goethe that is known to every German schoolchild. While out walking, Faust sees a black poodle and brings it home, unknowingly inviting the devil into his study. The baby suggests the innocence of children at birth, untouched by evil and misfortune. As it begins the journey of life, it must face the tensions of civilization and the potential for corruption.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Kind mit Pudeln (Child with Poodles)
Artist name
Katharina Fritsch
Date created
plaster, foil, polyurethane, and paint
15 3/4 in. × 201 1/2 in. × 201 1/2 in. (40.01 cm × 511.81 cm × 511.81 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase: gift of Collectors Forum, Jean and Jim Douglas, Mimi and Peter Haas, Susan and Robert Green, Pamela and Richard Kramlich, Vicki and Kent Logan, Helen and Charles Schwab, Norah and Norman Stone, and Judy and John Webb
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, Germany
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

The vision behind this menacing scene

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NARRATOR: 224 poodles. Faceless, identical poodles standing shoulder to shoulder in concentric circles. And at their center? A vulnerable baby.   


KATHARINA FRITSCH: So it’s a very aggressive thing to the baby.  


NARRATOR: The artist, Katharina Fritsch.  


FRITSCH: It’s like a pack standing around this baby but they are not really attacking it, but they could attack it. So it’s a kind of frozen threat. In such a tiny moment, maybe these are the moments where the conscious is totally gone or where I have the over conscious, but to create this, that is the point.  

I want to do three-dimensional pictures so that people can walk in the picture. By making it, at least with one color, I took all the detailed things away to create this kind of image which appears like a…like a vision.  Erscheinung.

I always think that I’m not so much different than the people who look at it.  So I see myself more as a medium, not so much as the creator, or more as a kind of medium which has its moments and I have to recreate them to show them to the others.   


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Other Works by Katharina Fritsch

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