The National Galleries of Scotland have acquired 234 multiples by Joseph Beuys for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund).
The collection was put together by Jörg Schellmann, who was not only a close friend of Beuys, but the publisher of a number of his best multiples and compiler of the catalogue raisonnée. The collection includes nearly all Beuys’s important multiples, 40 of which are now on display at the Dean Gallery (until early 2003), including such classics as “Sled” 1969 (above); “Felt suit”, 1970 and “The silence” 1973. According to Richard Calvocoressi, director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, “Beuys had a long association with Scotland, thanks to Richard Demarco who brought him here first in 1970. His impact on contemporary art in Scotland was profound and it is fitting therefore that he is properly represented in Scotland’s national collection of modern art.” Beuys’s multiples were designed to spread his ideas to as wide an audience as possible. They comprise all his editioned work: sculptures, prints, books, photographs, records and objects. A Luftwaffe pilot during the war, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea and saved by Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped up to preserve his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges. This incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art and references to it occur throughout these pieces.