Kiefer reflects upon and critiques the myths and chauvinism which eventually propelled the German Third Reich to power. His paintings depict his generation's ambivalence toward the grandiose impulse of German nationalism and its impact on history, balancing the dual purposes of visually powerful imagery and intellectually critical analysis.
Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany. After studying law, he began his art education in Karlsruhe and then Düsseldorf, where he studied informally under Joseph Beuys. His work has been shown and collected by major museums throughout the world. Recent retrospective surveys include “Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth,” the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (2005, traveled to Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and “Anselm Kiefer,” Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2007). In 2007, Kiefer inaugurated the “Monumenta” program at the Grand Palais, Paris with a vast site-specific installation of sculptures and paintings. In 2009, he directed and designed the sets for Am Anfang (In the Beginning) at the Opéra National de Paris. A new body of work based on the Morgenthau Plan was shown in two major exhibitions at Gagosian’s Paris and New York galleries in 2013.
Kiefer lives and works in France.