In Joseph Beuys (F. & S. II.242), Andy Warhol depicts the German artist and theorist Joseph Beuys in a headshot. The artist stares out at the camera from under a brimmed hat. This signed screen print by Warhol originates from one Polaroid photograph which Warhol snapped in 1979. Beuys’ portrait is repeated in a 2x2 grid. Throughout this series, and particularly in this edition of 150, Warhol has limited his usual vibrant colour palette and diminished contrast to include only Beuys in black against a cyan background.
Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) was an influential post-war theorist, artist, and teacher. He is known for his involvement in the foundation of the movement Fluxus and as an early practitioner of performance art, specifically happenings. Beuys’ work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and the Tate and is held in other world-class collections. Sir Normal Rosenthal noted, Beuys was “the greatest European artist of his time,” making his depiction by the American icon Andy Warhol all the more exciting. The two artists practiced different styles of art but undoubtedly admired each other.