Anselm Kiefer is a German painter and sculptor. He studied with Joseph Beuys and Peter Dreher during the 1970s. His works incorporate materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac. His art is characterised by an unflinching willingness to confront his culture's dark past, and unrealized potential, in works that are often done on a large, confrontational scale well suited to the subjects. It is also characteristic of his work to find signatures and/or names of people of historical importance, legendary figures or places particularly pregnant with history. All of these are encoded sigils through which Kiefer seeks to process the past; this has resulted in his work being linked with a style called New Symbolism. Kiefer is best known for his paintings, which have grown increasingly large in scale with additions of lead, broken glass, and dried flowers or plants, resulting in encrusted surfaces and thick layers of impasto.
Kiefer's works are included in numerous public collections, including the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and the Albertina, Vienna. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York owns a suite of 20 of the artist’s rare watercolors. Notable private collectors include, among others, Eli Broad and Andrew J. Hall.