Anselm Kiefer - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    A unique sculpture that eschews immediate clarity, Blutblume, 2001, captures Anselm Kiefer’s proximity to literature, alchemy and cosmogony, whilst materialising the artist’s desire to express the inherent paradoxes of life. Echoing the name of a flowering plant – also known as a blood lily or paintbrush lily – Blutblume forms part of a cycle of works that Kiefer built over forty-five years, comprising hundreds of unique books made of lead, plaster and cardboard, oftentimes ornate with paint, sand and flowers, and bound like ancient grimoires. Herein, Blutblume’s thirty-four pages are adorned with paint and collaged paper, together conjuring the delicate and lively appearance of a bed of blood lilies. However, the book itself is physically mute, as the act of flicking is made impossible by the sheer weight of the object. ‘The lead books are thus complete paradoxes’, Kiefer observed. They are like ‘an allusion to the dialectic of being and nothingness’ (Anselm Kiefer, quoted in Olivier Cena, ‘A la BNF, Anselm Kiefer expose ses livres sacrés’, Télérama, 30 October 2015, online). Connecting culture and nature, order and chaos, Blutblume functions as ‘a link that holds together opposites’, encapsulating the artist’s intimate expression ‘through which the human is connected to the natural, the terrestrial to the celestial’ (Germano Celant, quoted in ‘The Destiny of Art: Anselm Kiefer’, Anselm Kiefer, Milan, 1997, p. 15).



acrylic and paper glued to lead sheets mounted on cardboard with fabric binding, on 34 pages
open 99.7 x 136 x 6 cm (39 1/4 x 53 1/2 x 2 3/8 in.)
closed 99.7 x 68 x 7.9 cm (39 1/4 x 26 3/4 x 3 1/8 in.)

Executed in 2001.

£100,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £125,000

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova
Director, Specialist
Head of Day Sale
+44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 3 October 2019