Joseph Beuyscurriculum vitae- work run

Links: wikipedia biography , English Version

1921 Born in Krefeld on the 12th May, as a son of Johanna Maria Huelsermann and Joseph Jakob Beuys. Move to Kleve. The father works at the mayors office in Kleve, the mother is a housewife. No brothers and sisters. Childhood in Rindern and Kleve on the banks of the Lower Rhine.

5/10/1940 in Kleve the high school student spontaneously resolves to become a soldier. (While his class of 1941 got the school-leaving certificate , Beuys receives the high school diploma ,so-called "emergency school-leaving exam" after the war.

1941-46 war services (radio operator, combat pilot), heavy wounds by a plane crash at the Crimea,Russia. The impressions of a foreign landscape with mongolian-slavic culture had a deep impression on Beuys.

Since 1945/46 Beuys was engaged in reading the work by Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophy, impressed especially by his scientific knowledge.

In 1947-52 education as a sculptor at the State Academy of Arts Dusseldorf,at first with Josef Enseling, from 1949 with Ewald Mataré. Artistically orientates himself by his catholic roots : christian crosses, fontsand tombs.

In 1952-54 master-class student with Ewald Mataré

In 1952-59 studio in Duesseldorf/ Heerd

In 1953 the first exhibit in the farmhouse ( "Stable Exhibition" ) of the brothers Van der Grinten at Kranenburg, near Kleve. Afterwards this exhibition is shown at the Von-der-Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal.



In 1956/57 Beuys in a heavy crisis of depression , works on the field at the Van der Grinten farm

From 1958 studio in the health resort "Kurhaus Kleve".Beuys fails with his application for a professorship at the State Academy of Arts Duesseldorf , because of the protestof his former professor Matare.

In 1959 marriage with Eva Wurmbach

In 1961-72 professorship for large sculpture at the State Academy of Arts Duesseldorf.

In 1962 birth of this son Wenzel

Since 1963 participation in the Fluxus-movement with own, spectacular (at that time, however, merely tradedas a "confidential tip" ) actions :" How to explain the pictures to the dead rabbit" (1965), "Manresa" (1966), "Eurasian stick" (1967/68), Titus / Iphigenie " (1969), "I like America and America likes Me" , ( action with a coyote, 1974)

20th July, 1964 participation in the " festival of the new art " at the Technical College in Aachen, sudden becoming known by an alert remedial gesture with crucifix and bleeding nose after attack by the audience, first invitation for the participation in the "documenta" in Kassel (drawings and plastic), birth of his daughter Jessyka,

" Der Chef / The chief ", collectiv action with Robert Morris Kopenhagen/NY

In 1965 " How to explain the pictures to a rabbit ", Gallery Schmela, Duesseldorf

In 1966 "MANRESA", gallery Schmela, Dusseldorf

In 1967 foundation of the " German student party " (DSP)

In 1968 participation in the "documenta 4" (space installation, later known as collection Ströher, untill now "Hessisches Landes Museum Darmstadt", "Block Beuys")

from 1968 signifying environnements: " The pack/Das Rudel ") (1969) "Voglio vedere le miei montagne" (1971) " Shows your wound " (1976) "streetcar stop" (1976) "Richtkräfte" (1977) "Unschlitt/Tallow" (1977) "hearths" I (1978) and II (1979) " The capital 1970-1977 " (1980/81) "economic values" (1980) " Before the departure from camp I " (1981) "Dernier espace aver introspecteur" (1982) "deer monuments 1948-1982" (1983) " behind the bone is counted - pain space " (1983) Plight (1985) " Palazzo of shelves " (1985/86)


 In 1970 foundation of the " Organisation of the non-voters, free plebiscite " with office in downtown Duesseldorf , "electoral refusal" a call in form of a poster, " Friday object- 1a roasted fish bone " action and exhibit at the Eat Art Gallery, Duesseldorf; 26.-30. Aug. "Celtic" premiere in Edinburgh at the festival.

 In 1971, 5th April:" Celtic + ~~~", civil defence rooms, Basel. Foundation of the " Organisation for Direct Demokracy by Plebiscite ". Beuys accepts 142 rejected university applicants in his class. 16 applicants appear for the matriculation that starts the battle with the Ministry of Education and the Arts, North Rhine-Westphalia. Coestablishment of the "International Cultural Centre Achberg (INCA)" through the throposophischen circle around Wilfried Heidt, Peter Schilinski and Ursula Weber. In the course of the years Beuys held numerous talks in Achberg, which contained the central aspects of his idea of the "social sculpture". The purpose of INCA is the " Third Way " between communism and capitalism on the basis of freedom, democracy and socialism.

In 1972 Feb. 6-hour talk action in the exhibit "Seven Exhibitions" Tate Gallery, London. Participation in docomenta 5, installation of an information office with permanent discussion forum for the " Organisation for Direct Democracy by Plebiscite ". Renewed acceptance of 127 rejected students in his class. His unyielding posture leads to the occupation of the secretary´s office at the Academy of Arts Duesseldorf, instant dismissal from the university service because of "trespass" by the minister of science, Johannes Rau. The lawsuit ended in 1978 with the statement of the illegitimacy of the notice against Beuys.


In 1973 foundation of the " Free institute for Social Research and theory of evolution " together with Ota Sik, Heidt, Schilinski, Bartsch and Flechtheim at Achberg.

In 1974 - 20. Feb. Foundation of the association for the support{promotion} of a " Free International College for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research Inc. " by Joseph Beuys, Heinrich Böll, Klaus Staeck, Richter, Heerich, Georg Meistermann and Willi Bongard. Purpose of the FIU: The consciousness determines the being. Leader of the FIU since end of the seventies has been Wilfried Heidt.

Rainer Rappmann founded the "FIU Publishing Company". participation and co-operation with the Achberger " Annual congress The Third Way ", Knowledge and assimilation of the new monetary and capital concept by Wilhelm Schmundt (1898-1992).

"Secret block for a secret person in Ireland", Oxford. "Art into Society - Society into Art" at the ICA, London. "Richtkräfte" (1974-77, production of the first version 1974 in London at the ICA) May, 1974 " Three Pot Action " at the Poorhouse in Edinburgh, meeting with Buckminster Fuller.

First USA trip with the program "Energy Plan for the Westem Man" and the "Action Coyote", "I like America and America likes me" at the Rene Block Gallery, NY. Exhibits in Ireland and Great Britain with "The secret block for a secret person in Ireland", guest's professorship at the College for Arts, Hamburg.


In 1975 Beuys suffers a cardiac infarction. Meeting with the Dalai Lama.

In 1976 Top candidate of the AUD (Action Group of Independent Germans) in North Rhine-Westphalia in the course of the forming alternative movement, which led to the foundation of the "Green Party" in 1979. Beuys received 600 votes in Duesseldorf-Oberkassel ( approx. 3% of the electoral beneficiary. Conferment of the honourary doctorate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design at Halifax (Canada).

In 1977 participation in documenta 6, installation of the "Honey Pump at the Workplace " and installation of the forum : "100 Days", for the " Free International University "( FIU). "Lichtwark Price" by the town of Hamburg.

In 1978 "Thorn Prikker-honourary badge" of the city fof Krefeld, appointed member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin, call to the "College of Applied Arts", Vienna, which Beuys rejects in February 1979.

In 1979 Member of the foundation of the party "THE GREENS" ( via his membership in the AUD) and candidature for the European Parliament.

December 23., the publication of " Call for an Alternative " in the newspaper Frankfurter Review got great attention.

The first meeting with Andy Warhol in Duesseldorf, conferment of the " imperial ring" by the city of Goslar, comprehensive retrospective at the "Guggenheim Museum", New York.


In 1980 candidature for county register of " the Greens " in North Rhine-Westphalia, Beuys was not chosen. Beuys speaks to soldiers, in the barracks of the Federal Ministry of Defence, Hardthoehe, Bonn. Appointment for membership of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm.

In 1982 participation in documenta 7 with the action " 7000 oaks " which are planted in a period till 1987 (after Beuys' death) by the association of the FIU. For the financing of the "Stadtverwaldung" he did a melt down of the simulation of " Iwan of the awful "czar's crown to a " Hare with Accessories ".

In 1983-85 numerous national and international exhibits, e.g., "Plight", in 1985 d'Offay Gallery, London.

Nov.1985 lecture within the series " Talking about the own country: Germany "

In 1986 conferment of the "Wilhelm Lehmbruck Price" by the city of Duisburg on January the 12th. On the 23rd January Joseph Beuys dies in his studio in Dusseldorf. The mortal remains of Beuys are burnt, his cinder is scattered before the isle of Helgoland into the North Sea.


updates: March 2003, April 2005, March 2006, 23 Jan 2007 ( 3x7)

( compiled by K.T., and Rainer Rappmann, Wangen / Allgaeu, June, 2002)


Adriani, Konnertz, Thomas> Beuys <Dumont paperback.

Heiner Stachelhaus > Joseph Beuys <, Claassen publishers, 1987

Alain Borer: Joseph Beuys - work overview, drawings, watercolors, printed matter, multiple, sculptures, objects, rooms and actions, ed. L. Schirmer, 240 S., 152 posters partly colorfully, large size

Eva Beuys (Ed.): Joseph Beuys - The secret of the bud of tender cover - texts in 1941 - in 1986, written sheets from the Beuys Estate: Notes, letters, recordings, headwords, draughts, poems, politcal Manifestoes, sketches and lists. Introduction H.Bastian, library of J. Beuys compiled by Wenzel Beuys, 520 S., 230-coloured, engagedly, FIU-Verlag/ordering No. B D 64

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