Title: Dein Goldenes Haar, Margarethe (Your Golden Hair, Margarethe)
Straw, gouache, and pencil on photograph, mounted on cardboard
Dimensions: 22 x 33 inches (55.9 x 83.8 cm)
Acquired through the David M. Solinger, Class of 1926, Endowment
In the early 1980s Kiefer began to add straw to his canvases and works on paper, and it became a vehicle for exploring German themes, often painful and without redemption. The subject of Margarethe and Shulamith is based on Paul CelanÕs Death Fugue (Todesfuge), written in a concentration camp in 1945 and published in 1952. Margarethe represents the fair-haired German girl, with yellow straw for hair, a child of the land. Her counterpart Shulamith is a Jewish girl, with dark hair, usually shown in an urban environment, representing the decadence of the civilization that has turned on her and her religion. Shulamith and Margarethe are never far from each other; in Dein goldenes Haar, Margarethe, the golden-haired Margarethe shares space with Shulamith, represented by a thick black brushstroke. Two tanks starkly reinforce the message of war and the essence of the artist's own conflict. For Kiefer, the tragedy of the Holocaust is continually reenacted by the knowledge that these two individuals can never again meet in Germany in an atmosphere of trust. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.