Germany's Kiefer says Jewish collectors boosted career

Tue Apr 1, 2014 12:41pm EDT
 
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - German artist Anselm Kiefer, many of whose huge canvases examine the legacy of the Third Reich, attributes much of his success to Jewish collectors in New York who latched onto his art early in his career when his fellow Germans were not all that interested.

Kiefer spoke on Tuesday at London's Royal Academy of Arts, which will mount the first British retrospective of the 69-year-old artist's work in an exhibition opening at the end of September.

"These were the first big collectors, who admired and made my career, it wasn't in Germany," Kiefer said at a news conference to announce the works that will be in the exhibition.

They include art from private collections and some of the world's most prestigious museums.

Among them are canvases Kiefer painted in the early years of his career looking at the legacy of the Third Reich, including his paintings of spaces designed by Hitler's favorite architect, Albert Speer.

Others are paintings of Kiefer himself in his Occupations and Heroic Symbols series of the late 1960s and early 1970s which show him re-enacting the Nazi salute in locations across Europe.

Kiefer said that at the time he had thought it was important to show such scenes, because no one else in Germany was doing so, but to paint them today "would be redundant" because Germany is constantly re-examining what happened during the Nazi times.

He added that he did not think Nazism or its like could rise again in Germany because Europe is "much more together".   Continued...

 
German artist Anselm Kiefer attends a news conference to present his exhibition 'Morgenthau Plan' at the Gagosian Gallery in Le Bourget near Paris October 15, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau