Anselm Kiefer

German, born 1945

der Morgenthau Plan

Anselm Kiefer (German, born 1945). der Morgenthau Plan, 2012. Acrylic, emulsion, oil, and shellac on photograph mounted on canvas, 110 x 224 inches (279.4 x 569 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 2013 (2013:6a-c). © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat.

© Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat.

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der Morgenthau Plan, 2012

Artwork Details

Materials

acrylic, emulsion, oil, and shellac on photograph mounted on canvas

Measurements

each panel: 110 x 74 5/8 inches (279.4 x 189.55 cm); overall: 110 x 224 inches (279.4 x 568.96 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Credit

Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 2013

Accession ID

2013:6a-c

This vibrant landscape takes its title from—and is inscribed with—the name of a controversial proposal for post–World War II Germany that was conceived by US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. The Morgenthau Plan, as it became known, called for the complete deindustrialization of Germany and its return to an agricultural economy, which some estimated would result in the deaths of tens of millions of Germans. Through reference to the Morgenthau Plan, Anselm Kiefer here commingles the beauty of nature—specifically, a photograph of the landscape near his studio in Barjac, France—with the darker, ominous implications of a political program. The work suggests that land is never just a landscape. It is, rather, a composite of human history—of the aspirations, beliefs, actions, and events that have taken place there. Not simply natural, the landscape is a construction, constantly in flux as history unfolds.

Label from We the People: New Art from the Collection, October 23, 2018–July 21, 2019