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The acquisition of Anselm Kiefer’s “Aurora”

Published 17 December 2018

In 2017, the masterpiece of the outstanding contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer replenished the collection of Contemporary art of the State Hermitage Museum. The work, made by the artist specifically for the Hermitage, was acquired with funds from the Vladimir Potanin Foundation Grant and on the basis of income generated by the Hermitage Endowment Fund.

Anselm Kiefer is an artist whose work demonstrates a deep and diverse intellectual reflection. In his oeuvre he faces the themes of history, religion, literature, philosophy as well as the question of memory and heritage. One of the main sources of inspiration for Kiefer is world culture in its widest perspective: German history, religious mysticism, antiquity, and Mesopotamian mythology. His monumental, provocative and philosophical approach has brought him to the status of one of the most famous and successful contemporary artists in the world. His works are included in the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate Modern.

“Aurora” was selected by the Hermitage’s Expert Fund-Procurement Commission from the art works created by the master specifically for the Museum. In 2016, inspired by a visit to St Petersburg, Kiefer produced a new exhibition project for the Hermitage. In a three-part space specially fitted out for the solo exhibition in the Nicholas Hall, Kiefer presented a series of new epic works on giant canvases that are important for him and are dedicated to the Russian Futurist poet and experimental wordsmith Velimir Khlebnikov (1885–1922). The exhibition “Anselm Kiefer - Velimir Khlebnikov” became one the highlights of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution.

The acquisition of the painting made it possible to expand the permanent exhibition of art of the XX – XXI centuries in the General Staff Building. The importance and quality of the work of Kiefer “Aurora” are comparable to the famous Impressionist masterpieces from the Hermitage collection. It seamlessly continued the showcase of the history of Modern Art. Now museum visitors will be able to gain a better understanding of both the Kiefer’s work and the general development of Post-War European Art.

In December 2018, the art piece was presented to the public at the permanent exhibition in room №353 at the Hermitage General Staff Building.