Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen , Germany. Initially he studied Law but he began his art education at The University of Freiburg and then attended an art academy in Karlsruhe, Germany. While there, he studied under well known realist and figurative painter Peter Dreher. He also informally studied under Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Kiefer’s work addresses controversial issues from German history. He is known for incorporating German mythology into his paintings as well as symbolism and mysticism to reflect his ideas on Germany and society overall. He began incorporating glass, lead, clay, wood, straw and dried flowers into his pieces. The works grew to an increasingly larger scale and the frailness of his materials creates a fascinating contrast to his hard subject matter. His style is considered Neo-Expressionist. Anselm Kiefer’s work spans across different mediums including photography, painting, sculpture and installation pieces. Kiefer’s artistic style has been linked to New Symbolism.
Anselm Kiefer’s first solo exhibition was in 1969 at Galerie am Kaiserplatz while he was in Karlsruhe, Germany. Since then his work has been collected by numerous museums, including; 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 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kiefer also inaugurated the “Monumenta” program at the Grand Palais, Paris in 2007 with a vast site-specific installation of sculptures and paintings. He was the first living artist to do this since 1953 when Georges Braque completed his installation. Throughout his career, Anselm Kiefer has been awarded with prestigious art prizes in recognition of his accomplishments.