Eschaton—Anselm Kiefer Foundation


Photo: Barbara Klemm

Born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany, Anselm Kiefer is one of the most influential and innovative artists working today. His works are held in major museum collection around the world, and in a number of private collections. During a career that has to date spanned more than five decades, his works have been featured in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions. Kiefer’s artistic practice incorporates various media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, woodcut, book-making, site-specific installations and architecture. His art and writing explore the human condition and the cyclical nature of history, using a broad range of themes and motifs that are both drawn from and inspired by literature, history, myth, politics, religion, science, and philosophy.

Photo: Barbara Klemm


Born on March 8 in Donaueschingen, a small town in the Black Forest in south-western Germany where he spends his first years 6 years at his grandparents’ home


Moves to Ottersdorf, Germany to live with his parents


Kiefer spends three weeks at the convent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette in Eveux, France, where he experiences the religious life of the Dominicans. The convent, built between 1953 and 1960 by Le Corbusier, introduced him to “the spirituality of concrete”

After a year of studying law and romance languages at the university in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, enrolls in the city’s School of Fine Arts and begins his artistic training under artist Peter Dreher


Establishes his first studio in Karlsruhe, a city in south-western Germany


Kiefer Pursues his studies at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe under Horst Antes. This same year, he performs a series of actions collectively called Besetzungen (‘Occupations’) in France, Italy, and Switzerland, in which he dresses in the military uniform his father wore in World War II, and parodies the Sieg Heil Nazi salute (making such a salute was then and still is a punishable offence in Germany); these actions mark the beginning of Kiefer turning work on the memory of World War II and Nazism into a means of breaking the silence over the recent past and of exploring his German identity, as well as German culture and history


First solo exhibition of his work opens at the Galerie am Kaiserplatz in Karlsruhe


Moves into a former schoolhouse in Walldürn-Hornbach in the Odenwald region of central Germany

Visits Joseph Beuys, who at the time is a professor at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany; shows Beuys his work and later participates in performances that Beuys organizes


Begins a series that engages with the themes of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (popularly known as ‘The Ring Cycle’)


Begins to use lead as a material in his work


First museum exhibition of his work opens at the Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn

Begins a series of woodcuts that depict Wagnerian characters and themes, including Brünnhilde and her horse, Grane


Represents Germany at the 39th Venice Biennale (along with Georg Baselitz), exhibiting a series of books made between 1970 and 1978, and several paintings titled Verbrennen, verholzen, versenken, versanden


Introduces motifs of Third Reich architecture into his work, emptying this building style of its substance and grandeur

First US exhibition of his work opens at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York


‘Anselm Kiefer: Paintings and Books’ opens at the Whitechapel Gallery in London


Travels for the first time to Israel; introduces into his work themes related to mythology and to the history of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations that existed in the pre-Christian era

The exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer’ travels to the Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany; Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris; and Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer: Peintures de 1983–1984’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: Paintings from 1983–1984’) opens at the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux, France


Acquires a part of the lead roof of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral during its renovation, which he uses to  create the sculpture Mesopotamia The High Priestess, exhibited in 1989 at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery at Riverside Studios in London

Lead becomes one of his favorite materials


Represents Germany at the 9th Bienal de São Paulo, and while he is in the city, photographs many of the city’s skyscrapers; he later uses these images as the basis for his series ‘Lilith’

A solo exhibition dedicated to Kiefer’s work travels through the United States: Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Modern Art, New York


Acquires a former brick factory in Höpfingen, in Odenwald, which he uses as a studio and then transforms into a large-scale art installation


Travels to Israel for the second time; the Kabbalah becomes a special source of inspiration

The exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer: Livres 1969–1990’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: Books 1969–1990’) opens at the Kunsthalle in Tübingen, Germany; the exhibition then travels to: Kunstverein München, Munich and Kunsthaus Zürich


Travels to Mexico, Guatemala, South Korea, and Japan


Travels to the United States, Thailand, Australia, and Indonesia

Kiefer moves from Germany to live and work in a former silk factory in Barjac, a village near Avignon in the the south of France


Travels to India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, and Japan

The exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer: Melancholia’ travels through Japan: Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Kyoto National Museum; and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art


Having discovered the work of English philosopher Robert Fludd (1574–1637), Kiefer introduces cosmological themes into his work, including an exploration of the macrocosm-microcosm analogy


Travels for the second time to India, then to Morocco and Egypt; Kiefer begins the series titled ‘I hold all Indies in my hand’


From June to November, the Museo Correr in Venice presents the retrospective ‘Anselm Kiefer: Himmel–Erde’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth’)


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquires 54 of Kiefer’s works on paper, and exhibits them in ‘Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper, 1969–1993’


Designs the sets and costumes for Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus at Colonus at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, and for Richard Strauss’s Elektra at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy


The traveling exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth’ opens at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, then travels to Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Inaugurates the annual Monumenta exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris with a piece that pays homage to the poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan, and the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Establishes two new studios in Paris: one in the Marais, and the other in Croissy, on the city’s outskirts

In October, three of Kiefer’s works—the painting Athanor and the sculptures Danaé and Hortus Conclusus—are acquired by the Musée du Louvre, Paris


To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Opéra Bastille in Paris commissions Kiefer to design a musical performance based on texts from the Old Testatment: Am Anfang (‘In the Beginning’); he realizes the piece’s concept, direction, sets, and costumes


Appointed Chair of Artistic Creation by the Collège de France, an institution considered the country’s most prestigious research establishment


The Royal Academy of Arts in London dedicates a retrospective to Kiefer’s work


Two retrospective exhibitions open in Paris: ‘Anselm Kiefer’ at the Centre Pompidou, and ‘Anselm Kiefer: L’alchimie du livre’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: Alchemy of the Book’) at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France; the latter is the first exhibition in France dedicated to his artist’s books from 1969 to 2015


The retrospective exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer: Die Holzschnitte’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: The Woodcuts’) opens at the Albertina Museum, Vienna


On the hundreth anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death, the Musée Rodin in Paris and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia present the exhibition ‘Kiefer Rodin’; Kiefer contributes books, vitrines, and paintings inspired by Rodin’s oeuvre, including his book Cathedrals of France


Installs Uraeus, his first public sculpture in the United States, at Rockefeller Center in New York (on temporary exhibition)


‘Anselm Kiefer: Livres et xylographies’ (‘Anselm Kiefer: Books and Woodcuts’) opens at the Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature in Montricher, Switzerland, then travels to the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo

At the invitation of the Dominican friars, Kiefer returns to the convent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette to present a series of works in dialogue with Le Corbusier’s architecture


Commissioned by French president Emmanuel Macron, works by Kiefer and composer Pascal Dusapin are permanently installed at the Panthéon in Paris


The Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris presents ‘Pour Paul Celan’, a solo exhibition of Kiefer’s work that serves as an homage to one of the poets whose work he most values


A new body of work is presented in the exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce (Andrea Emo)’, at the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) in Venice. Kiefer was invited by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia (MUVE), to create a site-specific installation of paintings that responds to the Palazzo Ducale’s Sala dello Scrutinio and to the history of Venice

The Eschaton-Anselm Kiefer Foundation opens Kiefer’s studio estate La Ribaute, in Barjac, France, to the public on seasonal guided tours


‘Anselm Kiefer. Photography au commencement’ (‘Anselm Kiefer. Photography in the beginning’) is the first exhibition devoted to photography in Kiefer’s work at LaM – Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut

Release of Wim Wenders’ biographical film on the artist, Anselm: The Sound of Time, which premiered at Cannes

For the 26th edition of the ‘Safety Curtain’ exhibition series conceived by museum in progress, Kiefer creates a work, Solaris (for Stanislaw Lem), to be displayed on the safety curtain of the Vienna State Opera from November 2023 to the end of June 2024