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Anselm Kiefer, 2008, Barjac (Frankrijk). Photo: Anton Corbijn

AMSTERDAM.- One of Germany’s most well-known and influential artists, Anselm Kiefer, was invited by the Rijksmuseum to create a work of art inspired by The Night Watch. The result, the spectacular La berceuse (for Van Gogh), for which he was given complete free rein, will be on display in the Rijksmuseum’s Night Watch Gallery in the Philips Wing from 7 May.

Born in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War, Anselm Kiefer has always been fascinated and inspired by German history. His work, which is shaped by historical, mythological and spiritual themes, is always large-scale and uses materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead and dried plants. Kiefer’s work is exhibited in all major modern art museums worldwide.

berceuse_detailKiefer’s artwork for the Night Watch Gallery belongs to a long tradition among artists of creating work inspired by their predecessors. The collection of the Rijksmuseum, the museum of the Netherlands, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for such work. In this dialogue between the past and the present, artworks are seen in a new light and given new meaning.

Kiefer is no stranger to the Netherlands. Having visited Dutch museums early on in his career, his first exhibition – composed by Rudi Fuchs – in the Van Abbe Museum in 1979 represented his international breakthrough and prior to that, in 1974, his works were exhibited at Galerie 't Venster in Rotterdam. Dutch collectors were the first to purchase his work. Kiefer’s last exhibition of recent work was in 1986 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The collections of the Van Abbe, Boijmans, Stedelijk and Groninger museums all include works by Kiefer, but no new works.

Photographs by Anton Corbijn will be exhibited during the Kiefer & Rembrandt exhibition. Corbijn photographed Anselm Kiefer in 2008 in his studio in the south of France. On display in the Acquisitions Hall from 7 May to 4 July

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Anselm Kiefer, La berceuse, 2010 (detail). Photo Myra May.