Anselm Kiefer Hon RA

The German painter Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen in Baden-Württemberg. From 1993 he lived and worked near the Cévennes in Barjac; since 2007 he has been working in Paris. After studying law, the romantic languages and literature, he devoted himself entirely to painting. He attended the School of Fine Arts at Fribourg-in-Brisgau followed by the Art Academy in Karlsuhe.

Kiefer’s oeuvre stems from a question of paramount importance: how, after the Holocaust, is it possible to be an artist subscribing to the German tradition? This existential work of memory broadened out to a spiritual quest fuelled by great myths and cabbalistic mysticism. His work combines painting, photography, book and sculpture.

Kiefer’s work has been collected and is shown at major museums throughout the world – including MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, the Fort Worth Museum of Art in Texas and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

In 2007, he became the first artist to be commissioned to install a permanent work at the Louvre in Paris since Georges Braque some 50 years earlier. The same year, he inaugurated the Monumenta exhibitions series at the Grand Palais in Paris, with works paying special tribute to the poets Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann.

Anselm Kiefer was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Prize in Tokyo in 1999, and in 2008 he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. In 2010 Anselm Kiefer was appointed to the Chair of Artistic Creation at the renowned Collège de France in Paris, where he delivered nine lectures entitled Art will survive its ruins.

In 2014, the Royal Academy of Arts in London presented the first retrospective of Kiefer’s work to be held in the UK. In 2015, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Centre Pompidou in Paris showed major retrospectives of his artist books, paintings and installations.

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Honorary RA

Elected Hon RA: 29 May 1996