Sotheby’s are to offer a rare insight into the early work of the highly acclaimed German artist Joseph Beuys, in the inaugural selling exhibition of its newly-constructed Mayfair gallery space Sǀ2 London. Opening on 10th October, the show will feature rarely before seen works from Beuys’ early career comprising 12 works on paper and an iconic sculpture from a single owner collection.
The objects span the years 1947 to 1966 and highlight a crucial period in the artist’s oeuvre. Revealing the subjects which Beuys imagined most vividly – animals, landscapes and the female figure – the works on paper evocatively express the formative importance of drawing for the artist. Complemented by the masterpiece Bett (1950), an important early bronze sculpture – from an edition of six, one of which is in the Collection of the Tate in London the works in Joseph Beuys Revealed were primarily acquired from the legendary Galerie Alfred Schmela in Düsseldorf. In its time the Galerie Alfred Schmela was the centre of the Avant-Garde in Germany and the site of many of Beuys’s earliest exhibitions, including his career-defining performance How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare of 1965.
Stemming from this rich and revolutionary period, whereby Beuys redefined artistic norms and developed his potent creative persona, the works comprising this S|2 exhibition reveal the complexity and brilliance of this most revered artist.
Building on the success of Sotheby’s Sǀ2 New York, the new gallery designed by David Kohn Architects, located at 31 St George Street, will be dedicated to hosting regular, curated selling exhibitions. Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art, Europe comments: “Sotheby’s is much more than an auction house: it is now a multi-channel art business. Sǀ2 has become an extremely successful global Sotheby’s brand and we are delighted to introduce a new dedicated selling space here in London. In response to the growing demand from our clients to transact continuously – not just in the traditional sales seasons – we plan to host five selling exhibitions per year, in a stunning, purpose-built gallery, with shows curated by both Sotheby’s specialists and guest curators. I am thrilled that our first selling exhibition, Joseph Beuys Revealed will feature rarely seen works by Joseph Beuys, one of the most important and thought provoking artists of the Twentieth Century.”