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Urbis II

Joseph Beuys, German, 1921–1986
Chalk on blackboard with wood stand
Made in
Rome, Lazio, Italy, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 244
chalkboard and stand: 70 7/8 x 58 1/2 x 23 1/2 in. (180 x 148.6 x 59.7 cm)
chalkboard only: 39 x 50 3/4 in. (99.1 x 128.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the Donald L. Bryant Jr. Family Trust
© 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Object Number
Words and arrows flow across the surface of this blackboard. Joseph Beuys used it during one of his legendary “chalk talks,” performances and lectures he gave throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Beuys understood his presentations on European politics and society as works of art—particularly as sculptures. He held a strong conviction that ideas, and not objects, were the most important form sculpture could take. Already notorious for his use of materials like felt and fat, Beuys turned to words to mold and express his creative goals.
Lucrezia de Domizio Durini, Bolognano, Italy

- 2000
Polcina Collection, Rome, Italy

Michael Werner Gallery, New York, NY, USA, acquired from Polcina Collection

2000 - 2003
Donald L. Bryant, Jr., St. Louis, MO, purchased from Michael Werner Gallery

2003 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Donald L. Bryant, Jr. [1]

The main source for this provenance is e-mail correspondence from Jason Duval, of Michael Werner Gallery, to Museum staff dated January 2004 [SLAM document files]. Other supporting documents are noted.

[1] See Deed of Gift dated December 17, 2003 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, March 2, 2004.
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