1921 - 1986

Artist Joseph Beuys, "the man with the felt hat", evolved a highly idiosyncratic socio-political approach, known as "action art", which had a great influence on the development of the meaning of art. He advocated an expanded concept of art which culminated in the saying: "Everyone is an artist".

In 1946, Beuys enrolled at the Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts; his first solo exhibition was held in 1953. In 1959 he married art teacher Eva-Maria Wurmbach.

While he was teaching at the Dusseldorf Academy (1961-1972), Beuys caused a sensation with his political and artistic "actions". His controversial actions and installations brought him an international reputation and a special place in the German art scene. His graphic works include many collages.

1964 saw Beuys' first participation in the documenta in Kassel. His works have been shown at many international art exhibitions, and he taught as guest professor in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Vienna. Joseph Beuys died in Dusseldorf in 1986. He leaves an important, wide-raging artistic and political oeuvre.

"Just as the human being does not exist, but must first come into being, art, too, must come into being, for it does not yet exist." (Joseph Beuys)

Shortened version published with kind permission from: Thomas Salis, The Collage Principle. From Arp to West, Galerie Salis Salzburg 2022, p. 16