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Palette with Wings

Anselm Kiefer, German, born 1945

Made in Europe


Lead, steel, tin

9 feet 2 1/4 inches × 11 feet 5 3/4 inches × 39 3/8 inches (280 × 349.9 × 100 cm)

© Anselm Kiefer, courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by Norman Braman and with the gift (by exchange) of Anna Warren Ingersoll, 1989

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Anselm Kiefer likens the artist to an alchemist who converts raw materials such as paint and canvas into objects of great significance. Palette with Wings symbolizes the aspirations of art as well as its limitations. Although winged, this awkwardly colossal shape made of lead, steel, and tin is undeniably earthbound. In this way the sculpture recalls the Greek mythological figure Icarus, whose wax wings melted when he soared too close to the sun. Kiefer, who studied with German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) in the 1970s, focuses primarily on mythology and history in his work, and Palette with Wings exemplifies his imaginative appropriation of ancient narratives to express both personal and collective concerns.